Divorce Made Simple 7 – draft

Then what?

In due course, probably in several weeks time so I would leave it about 3 weeks before chasing the Court, you should receive (assuming everything went well and the Court accepted your allegations and the documents were correct) two certificates as follows:

a)         A Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree.   This simply says the Judge has looked at the paperwork and is satisfied that you have met the legal and procedural criteria to be entitled to a divorce.  On that basis the Court will then list your case for a Court hearing.  On this document it will state the date of the Court hearing that is due to take place.

Unless you are dealing with a claim for costs against your estranged spouse you do not need to attend Court on that day.

Incidentally, if you do wish to make a claim for costs you should write to the Court at least 7 days before the hearing explaining why you are seeking costs and advising that you intend to attend Court.  You should ensure your estranged spouse receives a copy of that letter at least, say, 7 days before the scheduled hearing date.  (There are procedural rules which you must comply with but it does not assist to be too technical in this blog in that respect).

Assuming you are making no claim for costs after the date of the Decree Nisi, the Court will then send you by post your Decree Nisi.

b)         A Certificate for Section 41 purposes.  I will not bore you with the details of what Section 41 states but in simple terms if you have no children the Court will simply say there are no children to whom the Court should have regard.  If you do have children the Court will consider whether or not the Court needs to intervene.  In this particular case the Court will grant you the certificate on the basis they do not feel there are any circumstances that require the Court to intervene in your child arrangements.

In the bad old days it was at this stage that Mums and Dads were expected to go to Court and typically, although not always, Mums got custody (as it was known) and Dads got access (as it was known) and a great deal of acrimony was had by both in the interim.  The reality of the situation now is that the Court will only make an Order if it is better than making no Order at all.  Therefore, for example, if the Court thinks there are no circumstances to cause them concern they will simply leave the parties to resolve the issues of residence (i.e. what was called custody) and contact (i.e. what was called access), to the parents.

Incidentally, if there are any issues in relation to the children you can deal with these at any time up to, in simple terms, their sixteenth birthday, so even though arrangements were made as per the Statement of Arrangements for children – that is considered to be a fluid document and not expected to be the final arrangements. Things change over time, especially with children so if a dispute later arises you can take the matter back to court as what is known as a freestanding Children Act application to resolve the issues of residence and contact.

For the sake of completeness, if the Court does have any issues in relation to the children then the Court will not grant you the two certificates and will ask both parties to go to Court to explain their position or write to you as the applicant (properly known as the petitioner) to explain anomalies in the Statement of Arrangements for Children that gave the Judge a cause for concern.  In practice this happens very rarely.

Assuming you now have the second certificate, the Court will have listed the matter for pronouncement of Decree Nisi, as stated earlier and the same procedure follows.

In the next blog I will deal with the issues in relation to how the process is slightly different in the event you were personally serving the documents on your estranged spouse and they:

a)         were served by bailiff or process server and returned the documents; or

b)         were served by bailiff or process server and did not return the documents despite the fact they were personally served; or

c)         you had an alternative method of service (as discussed in blog 5 such as substituted service or deemed service).

 

 

What Is A Living Will And How Do I Make One?

A living will was formally known as an ‘Advance Decision’. Putting in place a living will allows you to make decisions about the types of medical treatment you want to refuse if you are in a position where you cannot provide this information yourself.

If you have a life limiting disease you will be able to discuss your treatment with your doctor whilst you are still able to and to agree what treatment you want or don’t want. If however, you are in a car accident or have a stroke or some other sudden event; you may not be able to express your wishes.

An Advance Decision gives you the security you need to be sure that you will not receive certain types of treatment if something happens to you which renders you unable to make this decision yourself. The legal term for this is to ‘lack capacity’.

You also have the opportunity to make an Advance Statement which covers your wishes about how you want to be treated. This covers everything else except your decision to refuse treatments, which is covered in your Advance Decision. Although an Advance Statement is not legally binding, it will be taken into account. An Advance Decision is legally binding and cannot be ignored or discounted.

So what do you need to consider when making an Advance Decision?

The first steps would be to think about the types of treatments you don’t want to receive. These may be things like resuscitation or life support machinery. It is important to be clear about what treatment you don’t want and in which circumstances this situation may arise.

When you are making this important decision about your future treatment, it is vitally important that you speak to your loved ones and family too so that they understand the decisions you are making and that they support you in these decisions.

You will need to speak with your GP about your Advance Decision. This is because you have to have someone sign to say that you have the mental capacity to make an Advance Decision. Your GP will also be able to answer any questions you may have about certain types of treatments.

Finally, although you can make an Advance Decision without a solicitor, it may not be legally binding, so it is really important to seek independent legal advice to ensure that if the worst happens, your medical wishes will be carried out.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our Wills, Probate & Trusts services (including Care home fees recovery and powers of attorney), please call us on 0333 34 44 54 8 and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and  each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully  qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course  of action.

Shak Inayat

Solicitor

0207 183 2898

How Can Mediation Help Me With My Divorce?

Going through a divorce is extremely upsetting for everyone involved and finding a way to get through it with as little emotional fall out as possible has to be a good way forward. If you do decide that you want to make the process as non-adversarial as possible, then mediation may be the right choice for you and your ex-partner.

Going to court to decide on contact arrangements for the children and the splitting of assets will prove to be an expensive and time consuming process. Mediation has been designed so that you both have a chance to avoid that whole situation and to just sit down in a room and decide for yourselves with the help of a mediator.

Since April 2011, every couple who is getting divorced has to consider mediation, apart from cases of domestic violence or cases with child protection issues and the benefits are clear. In mediated divorce cases, the divorce was settled within half the time of divorce cases which had to go to court.

So what is mediation and how can it help you?

Mediation is where you and your ex-partner will meet alongside a third party, your mediator, who will listen to both sides and then help you to reach an agreement on all of the important decisions you need to make about your divorce. These may include access arrangements if you have children, maintenance payments, your property and all of your assets too.

You don’t need to worry about what will happen if you cannot reach an agreement during mediation either, because mediation is not the end of the road. If you cannot reach agreement at mediation you simply go to court to get a judge to decide for you instead.

You will not lose out by using mediation, but you may be able to get through your divorce more quickly and with less confrontation, so it could be worth trying first. Mediation will not work for everyone, but if you think it may work for you, you should contact a specialist family law solicitor who will be able to help you with this.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 0333 34 44 54 8 and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

 

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and  each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully  qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course  of action.

Shak Inayat

Solicitor

0207 183 2898