At Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP we appreciate that all relationships are different and that marriages and civil partnerships can conclude for a wide range of reasons. Our family team have a depth of experience which they will use to guide you efficiently and supportively through the divorce process with a view to achieving your objectives.
The divorce process for marriages and the dissolution process for civil partnerships is usually broken down into two parts:
- The legal termination of the marriage or civil partnership (the divorce/dissolution process)
- The distribution of the parties’ assets (‘financial remedy or simply ‘finances’).
The divorce or dissolution process is largely procedural, but it is important to get this right as it can have an impact upon the finances if it is not properly completed.
In England and Wales there is only one ground for divorce or dissolution and that is that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. This can be proven by one or more of the following facts:
- Adultery you can use this fact where your spouse has committed adultery with a person of the opposite sex and you find it intolerable to carry on living together. Due to the way the law is drafted, this cannot be used for dissolution in civil partnerships.
- Behaviour also known as ‘unreasonable behaviour’, this can be used where your spouse has acted in such a way that you cannot be reasonably expected to continue living with them.
- Desertion a rarely used fact, this applies when your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more;
- Two years separation where you and your spouse have been living separately for a period of two years or more, and your spouse consents to the divorce going ahead, you can rely on this fact to evidence irretrievable breakdown. Note that ‘living separately’ can mean living under the same roof, provided you are living separate lives.
- Five years separation where you and your spouse have been living separately for a period of five years or more, you can rely on this fact to evidence irretrievable breakdown and do not require your spouse’s consent to proceed.
Anyone who has been married or in a civil partnership for one year can begin the divorce or dissolution process provided they have been domiciled and resident in England and Wales for the last six months (or have been resident for the past year). This is the case even if the marriage took place outside of England and Wales, provided that marriage was recognised legally in the country of origin.
If your spouse cooperates with the divorce, then the procedure will take between 4-6 months to complete. The court fee for issuing a divorce or dissolution petition is £550.00 and we are able to work on a fixed fee basis for our legal costs provided this is appropriate in your circumstances.
If you are unable to divorce for religious reasons or because you have not been married for one year, our family team can advise you in relation to judicial separation or nullity (if applicable).
We offer advice on:
- Dissolution of civil partnerships;
- Annulment (nullity);
- Judicial separation.