If you’re beginning to feel as though divorce might be the only way to solve your marriage problems, it’s important that you understand a little bit more about what ‘getting divorced’ involves. It is always wise to speak to an expert, and our Divorce Solicitors in Leeds will be able to provide you with the advice you need, but here is some general information which might be useful.
Grounds for Divorce
In England and Wales, you will only be in a position to obtain a divorce, if you can demonstrate to a court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. Assuming you have been lawfully married for at least 1 year, you would then petition the court for a divorce, based on one of the following reasons:
Adultery – If you find out that your partner has had an affair, which they’ve admitted or can be proved, you probably have grounds to divorce them. Even if you continue to live with your spouse, you may still be able to use the adultery as grounds for a divorce; however, you will need to submit the petition within six months of finding out about the affair.
Unreasonable behaviour – This is probably the most frequently used reason for divorce in England and Wales, and can cover a variety of actions and behaviours which mean you can’t reasonably be expected to continue living with your spouse. While these may be quite serious, involving problems with drink, drugs, or money, they may also be as simple as your partner focusing too much of their time and attention on their career.
Desertion – While very rarely used, your spouse leaving you for a period of 2 years, without your agreement, would also be a valid reason to seek a divorce.
Separation for 2 years – This particular reason for divorce would be used if you and your spouse have lived apart from each other for at least two years, and both of you agree to a divorce. This would be referred to as an Uncontested Divorce. Couples who have tried living together after an initial separation, in an attempt to save their marriage, can still use this reason for divorce, as long as they were not living together for more than a total of 6 months, and have lived separately for at least 2 years altogether.
Separation for 5 years – If your husband or wife doesn’t consent to a divorce, but you have lived apart from them for at least 5 years, you will be able to petition the court for a divorce regardless of how your spouse feels about it. This process would be known as a Contested Divorce.
Every divorce case is different. Some involve children, whereas others don’t; and some might be quite amicable, while others could be fiercely contested. There is no set time for how long it should take before you are awarded your Decree Absolute – the best case scenario could be a few months, although some divorce cases last years.
If you and your spouse consent to a divorce, and can work together to agree most of the terms and conditions before you file the petition, this should help speed up the process. However, getting the assistance of a suitably qualified solicitor is the best way to ensure your rights are properly represented, and your divorce proceeds with the least amount of stress and anxiety. One of our specialist Divorce Solicitors in Leeds will be able to provide sympathetic and effective assistance with your Leeds divorce.
There are standard court costs which will need to be paid in order to process your divorce, but there will also be the costs associated with hiring a Divorce Solicitor. These will vary from firm to firm, and will be affected by the complexity and duration of the divorce process. The cheapest solicitor will not always be the best one, and you should make sure you are happy with your choice of representation, and that your Divorce Solicitor has made you aware of their fees and what the potential costs might be. In some cases, depending on the grounds for the divorce, you may even request in your divorce petition that your spouse pay your costs. Our Leeds Divorce Solicitors provide different levels of service, making sure you get the advice you need, whatever your budget. Follow the link to understand more about divorce costs.
Alternatives to Divorce
Many couples who no longer wish to live together choose not to petition the court for a divorce for a number of reasons. They may be spending some time apart with a view to reconciliation, or perhaps they accept that they will not be getting back together, but don’t want to divorce for religious or financial reasons.
Whatever the motivation, Separation is an alternative to divorce, and where a husband and wife simply need to be living apart to be considered ‘separated’. It is possible to formalise this separation, instead of getting divorced, and even if this isn’t desirable, there may be certain matters that need to be outlined in some form of separation agreement. Click the link to find out more about Separation, or get in touch with our Divorce Solicitors Leeds office for more information.
If you are considering a divorce, or dealing with any kind of family law issue, get in touch with one of our Divorce Solicitors in Leeds. With different levels of service to suit all budgets, we will make sure you get the advice you need.