When it comes to getting a divorce, the legal procedure is actually quite straightforward. What complicates the process are the various matters which need to be resolved along the way, which usually include issues such as child custody and the distribution of property and financial assets.
While each divorce case will be different, and speaking to a Leeds Divorce Solicitor from our firm could help ensure your rights are properly represented with the least amount of stress, here is a brief look at the divorce process.
Once you have decided to petition the court for a divorce, your solicitor will usually write to your spouse to inform them of your intentions and advise them to seek independent legal advice. While not essentially part of the formal divorce procedure, this is good practice, and can help to make the whole process run more smoothly.
Next, your Divorce Solicitor will complete and file the Divorce Petition with the court. This explains the reasons why you, the Petitioner, are seeking a divorce, as well as any other information, such as whether you will be asking for financial support for you and/or your children from your spouse.
Statement of Arrangements
If there are any children under 16 involved in the marriage, a Statement of Arrangements will also need to be completed and submitted with the Divorce Petition. This outlines a number of aspects, including where they are going to live, where they will be educated, and what sort of visitation arrangement you are proposing.
Acknowledgement of Service
Once the court receives the Divorce Petition and Statement of Arrangements, copies of these are then sent to your spouse, the Respondent, with a form they will need to complete and send back to the court. This is known as the Acknowledgement of Service and, amongst other things, it details whether or not they are going to dispute the divorce.
If your husband or wife does in fact wish to dispute the divorce, they will also need to complete and return another form, called an Answer. If your spouse wishes to dispute your divorce, a Leeds Divorce Solicitor from our office would be able to advise you of your options when it comes to dealing with this situation.
If there is no dispute about the divorce, the court will send you a copy of your spouse’s Acknowledgment of Service form, and you then need to complete a legal statement to confirm that all the facts in the original Divorce Petition are in fact true, known as an Affidavit. This is then returned to the court with the Acknowledgment of Service form.
Once the court is happy with all the paperwork, and agrees that you should indeed be divorced, it will set a date to pronounce the Decree Nisi. This is the first of the two divorce decrees, and at this point, you are not actually divorced – the court is simply acknowledging that the proper legal process has been followed and you should be divorced.
After six weeks, you will be able to apply to the court for the Decree Absolute, which will make the divorce final. It may be wise to make sure that all of the terms and conditions of the divorce have been agreed before you do this, and if you aren’t able to agree issues such as the distribution of assets and child custody and visitation rights, your solicitor will advise you of your options and whether it may be necessary to take these matters to court.
Once the Decree Absolute has been granted by the court, you are officially divorced.
If you are thinking about getting divorced, get in touch with a Leeds Divorce Solicitor from our firm. With a range of services to suit all budgets, we’ll make sure you get the advice you need.