If a separation is contemplated it is important to seek separate and independent legal advice as soon as possible. If couples wish to separate it is advisable to enter into a separation agreement and Fiona can provide expert legal advice with regard to this process, the procedures and law involved and the various options available to you.
In England and Wales, there is one ground of divorce, namely irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However it is important to be aware that in order to present a petition of divorce to any Court one of the five facts must be used in addition, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years’ separation with consent, desertion and five years’ separation. Fiona can provide expert legal advice with regard to the necessary procedures involved in order to obtain a decree absolute, which is the final decree which dissolves your marriage.
The Civil Partnership Act 2005 allowed same sex couples to register their civil partnership. Amendments to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 conferred the same rights to civil partners on dissolution of their civil partnership as those that already existed to a heterosexual couple on divorce. As with separation and divorce, Fiona can offer expert legal advice with regard to the procedures involved in respect of dissolution.
Any married couple or civil partners contemplating separation, divorce or dissolution must consider the financial claims that each has against the other. These can be summarised as follows:-
These claims exist until they are dismissed by a Court either by attending Court before a District Judge or by not attending Court and submitting an order which has the consent of both parties. Such an order is usually referred to as a consent order and must be approved and sealed by a District Judge. Fiona can provide expert legal advice in respect of these claims and your entitlements and the various procedures involved in obtaining an order from the Court.
With regard to the procedures involved in obtaining an order, there are various different options available as follows:-
Fiona can provide expert legal advice as to the option appropriate to you in your particular circumstances.
The best way to resolve issues relating to children (which are usually concerning residence and/or contact) is by agreement between the parents themselves. If this can be achieved perhaps by mediation or the collaborative process then no court intervention or order is necessary.
However if no solution can be found by agreement then either party can apply for an order from the Court under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. Under this statute the welfare of each child is the paramount consideration.
The Court "shall have regard in particular to:-
Fiona can provide expert legal advice in respect of any of the above issues, whether that be seeking an agreement or an order of the Court.