We know that the breakdown of a relationship can be difficult. Once you decide to formalise your separation from your partner, either through a Separation Agreement, divorce or dissolution of a Civil Partnership, it can feel quite daunting.

If you’re thinking about formalising your separation, it’s good to get legal advice as soon as possible so that you know what options are available to you.

Separation Agreements

If you and your partner are not ready to divorce then you may want to consider putting arrangements in place for how assets will be divided now that you have chosen to live apart. This can be recorded in a Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement does not mean that you have started divorce proceedings, rather you have formalised how you will divide assets now that you are living apart. A Separation Agreement is not a final financial settlement, it can be revisited and amended should you choose to divorce in the future and record your financial settlement either in a Consent Order or through the Family Courts. However, should you and your spouse both seek independent legal advice and exchange ‘full and frank financial disclosure’ then there is a greater chance that this will be upheld in any future negotiations.

It may be, for whatever reason, that you do not want to divorce just yet. You may however need to put arrangements in place so that you can finance living separately. Burn & Co Solicitors would be happy to meet with you to discuss putting a more formal arrangement in place which may help you prepare for divorce and reaching a final financial settlement.

Divorce

Once you have spoken to us, if you go on to decide to a divorce, it’s natural to have lots of questions about the divorce process. You’ll want to know what impact divorce will have on your home, possessions and finances. If you have children, you’ll want to know how to make the right decisions for them too now that you will be parenting separately from your partner.

Burn & Co Solicitors can support you through the divorce process, providing expert divorce advice and ensuring that you are treated fairly during and following the divorce. Our solicitors will answer all the questions you have, clearly explaining the procedure and what to expect at every stage.

You will not be able to obtain a divorce until you have been married for a year. Prior to this, you would have to consider whether the marriage can be nullified although this is rare. Once you have been married for a year, you must be able to prove that the marriage has ‘irre-trievably broken down’ – this is the only reason a Court would grant a divorce. This is proved by one of ‘five facts’;

1. Adultery

2. Unreasonable Behaviour

3. Desertion (although this is technically a difficult fact to prove and the petition can usually be made based on another fact).

4. Two Years’ Separation with Consent

5. Five Years’ Separation

A Petition will be drawn up based on one of the five facts listed above. This will be sent to the Court with the Court fee and your marriage certificate. The Court will then confirm that your di-vorce has been allocated a case number and will send the Petition to your spouse asking them to confirm receipt of the Petition and whether they will defend the divorce or allow it to proceed. This response is called the Acknowledgement of Service. The person receiving the Petition, known as the Respondent, has seven days from receipt of the Petition to return the Acknowledgement of Service.

If the person receiving the Petition, returns the Acknowledgement of Service to the Court confirm-ing that they do not intend to defend the divorce, then the Court will inform the Person making the Petition that they are able to apply for a Decree Nisi of divorce. Once this has been applied for and obtained, the Person making applying for the divorce has to wait a further six weeks and one day before they can make their divorce final by applying for the Decree Absolute.

Getting a divorce can sometimes feel like a lonely process but with Burn & Co Solicitors, you’ll gain the reassurance of having a sympathetic expert on your side to help you through it. We will do all we can to ensure that things runs as quickly and simply as possible so that you can start planning for the future.

At Burn & Co Solicitors we explain everything in plain English, answering any questions you may have and making the process easy to understand. We also offer free, initial over-the-phone advice and will explain the estimated costs and timescales involved as soon as we can so you always know what to expect.

Contact us today if you’re looking for an experienced divorce solicitor who will provide confiden-tial, sympathetic and friendly advice.

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