Divorce & Separation
We understand how stressful and complex divorce and separation procedures can be. Our friendly team of legal professionals will work at your pace to ensure you are completely comfortable with the process. Find out how our team of experienced family law solicitors can support you.
Divorce and Family Law Solicitors in Manchester
Divorce proceedings can be complicated and stressful. It's never easy, but it’s easier when you have a team of experienced family law solicitors on your side. At Masaud Solicitors, we strive to ensure that we understand the unique details of your circumstance and make sure that your case is handled with care. We will guide you through the divorce process with empathy and reassurance that you have the right team of legal experts by your side.
With divorce and family law solicitors based in Manchester, Birmingham and London, we keep in close contact with our clients throughout the process. Our extensive experience in divorce will provide the confidence you need to make well-informed decisions, even if they are difficult or stressful.
How does the divorce process work in the UK?
The UK divorce process begins with a divorce petition. Either party can apply for a divorce but whoever applies for the divorce petition will have to pay the Court fee. This person will be known as the Petitioner and the other party is known as the Respondent.
There are three key considerations as part of the divorce process in the UK:
formally ending the marriage - which means completing the divorce itself
financial arrangements, such as how the assets will be divided including any property matter and/or whether any maintenance agreements should be made;
dependent child arrangement orders including care and maintenance
It's important to note that you'll need to have been married for a least a year before you can get divorced. If not, you'll have to wait until one year of your marriage has passed. Alternatively, you might be able to annul your marriage if you're eligible. Speak to our experienced family law solicitors to explore your options.
What are the grounds for divorce?
Divorce in the UK relies on a fault-based system which means that your divorce must rely on one of five facts that outlines the reason why your marriage has broken down. This includes adultery; unreasonable behaviour; desertion; or separation with and without consent from your spouse to divorce.
To rely on this fact for divorce it must be outlined that the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
In the case of relying on adultery, the person who has committed adultery cannot file for divorce. The Petitioner needs to satisfy the Court that the Respondent has committed adultery and had sexual contact with another party outside of the marriage. It must also be reasonably expressed that the Petitioner now finds it intolerable to live with the respondent.
In these cases, it is important that the Respondent admits his or her adultery before filing for this petition, otherwise, it could be difficult to prove this in Court. Where the Respondent has denied this, it may be more appropriate to rely on an unreasonable behaviour Petition instead.
2. Unreasonable behaviour
For a Petition of unreasonable behaviour, the Petitioner needs to show that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that they cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This can include serious or mild allegations of unreasonable behaviour which outline why the marriage cannot reasonably continue.
It is important to note that unreasonable behaviour is only used to support the decision for a divorce and will not usually impact financial or children arrangement decisions.
The Petitioner needs to show that the Respondent has deserted him/her for a continuous period of at least two years before the Petition is lodged. This can be difficult to prove however you will need to show that there has been a continuous separation and that the Respondent intended to desert the petitioner.
It will also be important to show that there was no consent to the separation by the petition or acceptable reason as to why the Respondent deserted their spouse.
4. Separation for two years with consent from your spouse
Where the parties have been separated for at least two years, a divorce can be granted on this basis if the Respondent consents to the divorce.
In the case of separation, you don't necessarily have to be physically separated from the respondent. This means that you could live under the same property as long as you can satisfy the Court that you continued to live separate lives. The period of separation will begin from the date that you decided to live independently rather than the date that one of you moved out of the property.
5. Separation for five years without consent from your spouse
Where the parties have been separated for at least five years, a divorce can be granted even if the Respondent does not provide consent to the divorce.
In order to apply for a divorce on this fact, you will only need to show the date on which you separated from your partner. In this case, the respondent does not need to give consent and if the respondent does not cooperate with proceedings then there are steps that can be taken to ensure that the divorce is not halted.
Currently, there is no way of filing for a no-fault divorce. However, there are moves to change this in the near future.
In 2018, the UK Government confirmed that divorce law would be reformed in England and Wales. They acknowledged that current divorce laws are out of touch with modern life and proposed changes to remove blame from the divorce process.
Under new laws set to come into effect in April 2022, couples will be able to get divorced solely because the marriage has broken down without having to cite one of the five facts mentioned above. This is also known as a no-fault divorce which essentially removes any blame from the divorce process.
This means that if the couple agrees to a divorce and the divorce is amicable or uncontested, there won't be a requirement for one person to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage.
What is the difference between a Decree Nisi and a Decree Absolute?
A Decree Nisi is a provisional decree of divorce that is granted when the Court is satisfied that the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce have been met. This is not an indication that the divorce has been finalised yet, although it will outline the date your marriage will end.
After receiving the Decree Nisi, the person applying for divorce must wait six weeks and one day until they can apply for a Decree Absolute. This gives both parties enough time to agree on any financial arrangements or commitments. This must be in place before you apply for the Decree Absolute. If there are any financial disputes, it is crucial that you rely on trusted legal advice from a divorce solicitor.
Once you have received a Decree Absolute, this is formal confirmation that the marriage has ended and you are now legally divorced.
Get in touch with our family law solicitors
Family law is a sensitive area and cases can significantly impact the lives of everyone involved. Our experienced family law team therefore always aim to provide a service that is sensitive to your situation. Our family solicitors are regulated by the Solicitor Regulation Authority and come with a wealth of family law experience to deal with even the most complex cases.
We will provide confidential legal advice that is tailored to you and your personal situation. We will do our absolute best to minimise any distress by making the process as quick and comfortable as possible.
In most divorce cases it is not necessary to have court proceedings, as long as communications are handled with care and understanding. Our divorce solicitors can help individuals during each step of the divorce process and will keep you informed at every stage.
SPEAK TO A DIVORCE SOLICITOR
Divorce is never easy, but it’s easier when you have a team of experienced family law solicitors on your side. At Masaud Solicitors, we have a team of experienced divorce solicitors and lawyers with a wealth of knowledge in UK family law.
We will guide you through the divorce process with empathy and reassurance that you have the right team of legal experts by your side.
Get in touch today for a free initial case review to find out how we can support your case.