A Guide To The Divorce Process

Making the decision to end your marriage will never be an easy one, but understanding the divorce process may help you to feel a little more in control of what is happening. This guide will lay out the procedure for you and highlight some of the areas you need to consider.

In order to start the divorce process, you must have been married for a least a year and your marriage must have irretrievably broken down. Once you have decided that this is the case, you must decide which of the five divorce facts you will rely upon. They are:

Adultery – you may think this is self-explanatory, but this fact cannot be used in a same sex divorce due to the legal definition of adultery – this is a sexual relationship between someone of the opposite sex, who is not their spouse. This is a difficult fact to use in a divorce, particularly if your spouse does not admit to the adultery. If this happens, you will have to prove it happened and this can be hard to do.

Unreasonable behaviour – this covers a large scope of behaviours which could range from domestic violence or mental abuse to not taking part in cleaning and managing the house. It is important to understand that you will have to explain your spouse’s behaviour and the impact on you and demonstrate several times when this behaviour has happened.

Desertion – if your spouse left and you do not know where he or she is and you don’t know why they left.

Separated for two years – you can divorce after a two year separation as long as your spouse agrees to the divorce.

Separated for five years – if your spouse does not agree to the divorce, you will need to separate for five years. After that period, you can end the marriage without their consent.

Once you have decided on which fact you will use for your divorce, you will then complete a Divorce Petition, also known as a Form D8. You can get hold of this form along with the guidance notes from the court service website or from your local court.

If you have children and they are under 16 years of age or still in education full time, you will have to complete a Statement of Arrangements for the Children, known as a SAFC or Form D8A. This only sets out the arrangements for your children and the court will not make any decision on who your children live with, without you making a separate application to the court alongside your divorce.

On the divorce petition, you will need to indicate any financial claims you will make against your spouse. You should get legal advice on this as if you miss any elements off at this stage, you will not be able to claim later.

You will issue (a legal term used to indicate it has been sent) the divorce petition to the court along with your marriage certificate and once you do this you will be known as the ‘Petitioner’ and your spouse is the ‘Respondent’.

The court will send the petition to your spouse, known as service and they must respond to acknowledge service, usually within eight days, by signing and returning the acknowledgement of service.

Once this has happened and your spouse does not contend the divorce, you will sign an affidavit to confirm all details are true and a judge will decide by reading the paperwork if you should be granted a divorce.

You will be given a Certificate of Entitlement to Decree Nisi and this will show the date and time your Decree Nisi will be given in court. After six weeks and a day, you can apply for your Decree Absolute and you are now officially divorced.

Do speak to a solicitor about the process, your rights and any issues about children and your financial situation so you are protected.

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 Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
0207 183 2898


Lasting Power Of Attorney Changes

Lasting Power of Attorney, also known as LPA, is an important tool. It allows an individual to appoint a person to act on their behalf once they decide that they no longer want the hassle or responsibility of their day to day financial affairs or once they no longer have the capacity to make day to day decisions about their medical care.

There are two different types of LPA – the first is Property and Finance and the second is Health and Welfare and these LPAs come into force at different times. The property and finance LPA can be made and implemented as and when an individual chooses to do so, whilst the Health and Welfare LPA must be made whilst the individual has the capacity to do so, but does not come into force until they lose capacity themselves.

Following a period of consultation, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) took on comments and feedback about the existing LPA form and application process and made some changes. The changes were made predominantly to the form itself but these are likely to make the process easier and less time consuming, which can only be a positive step. The changes are as follows:

The two forms remain separate – the OPG wanted to combine both forms together, however feedback from users of this service suggested this wasn’t a popular idea.

The form can now be completed online.

The requirement of a second witness has been taken out as some people found it hard to comply with this part of the form.

The OPG has chosen to retain some parts of the old process in order to continue to safeguard people. These are:

A signature and witness is still required for life sustaining treatment.

An independent person is required to witness and to sign the section giving power of attorney for life sustaining treatment.

Someone who knows you is still required to certify that you have capacity to make the LPA, in their opinion.

There is a transition period from the old to the new forms and it is important that if you have started the process with the old forms that you know when this transition is happening. You can continue to use the old forms until the 1st of January 2016 and as long as the LPA has been completed correctly, you can register it at any time. From 1st July 2015 you can use the new forms to create and register an LPA.

All in all, some positive changes have been made to the LPA system that will no doubt be welcomed by everyone involved in the process.

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 Solicitors before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
0207 183 2898