basic divorce Guide

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A basic guide to divorce

The divorce process can seem very complicated and includes many specialist legal terms and procedures, often in Latin.

This can make divorce seem very complicated. However, at FAMILY MEDIATION 1 we wish to make separation and divorce as simple as possible. We are here to advise you and to make sure that you understand every step of the procedure.

In order to do so, we have drawn up a list of the most common questions that people ask us when they are considering a divorce.

This simple guide will tell you what you need to know about divorce and the divorce process.

Must I undertake mediation?

You should normally attend MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings) as this is a requirement of the court. 

If you do not complete a MIAM you could be subject to more court fees.

There are a number of technical exceptions to this, but it is normally the case that mediation is required.

Your mediator will be required to produce form FM1 which is required by a court before they will progress your form further. We can help you to consider MIAMS meetings and the FM1 form and court forms.

You will need a marriage certificate in order to complete your divorce paperwork. Or to do you divorce application online.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where the partners meet to discuss areas of disagreement regarding assets and child considerations.

It may be that there are few, or no disagreements, in which case the mediation procedure will be short. In very rare cases, where there are no disagreements, there is no requirement for mediation.

What are grounds for divorce?

Grounds for divorce are conditions which are acceptable for a divorce. There are a number of grounds which are acceptable.

In most cases, unacceptable behaviour are grounds for divorce. However, these will need to be considered by a court. You will need to take sound advice on whether there are acceptable grounds for divorce. Or you can be subject to additional court fees.

No fault divorce is a type of divorce in which neither spouse must prove the other did something wrong to initiate the divorce.

Instead, a no fault divorce can be granted if one or both spouses decide they no longer want to remain married and provide evidence that they have been living separately for a certain period of time. In some jurisdictions, no-fault divorces may be granted without any waiting period or proof of separation. No-fault divorces are sometimes referred to as uncontested divorces because both spouses agree on the reasons for and terms of the divorce without having to go to court.

How much does a divorce cost?

There are two ways to approach this question. One is that if you decide to act in a counter-productive way then it can cost a lot of money and it can take a lot of time.

If you are not prepared to make an agreement with your former partner on issues of property and finance then it may led to a legal process that involves conflict and disagreement.

This can lead to substantive legal costs and a lot of time spent with solicitors and, potentially, in court. On the other hand, if you decide to act in a reasonable manner then the process can be relatively straightforward and not very expensive.

By investigating, and undertaking, mediation, to arrive at a sound and agreeable position with your partner that you mutually agree on, you can find that the divorce can be over quite quickly and at minimal cost.

What about finances and other property?

Technically, a divorce simply means that the marriage has ended. There needs to be a separate dispute about property and finance.

When filing for a financial order in a divorce, there are several steps that must be taken. First, the divorcing couple will need to gather all their financial claims and present it to the court.

This includes any assets each spouse owns, debts owed to or by either spouse, income of each spouse, expenses paid or incurred by either party, and any other financial matters in dispute. The court will then review this information and make an equitable division of marital assets and liabilities.

Depending on the state in which you are filing for your divorce, additional paperwork may need to be filed with the court as well. After all required documents have been submitted, the court will issue a formal decree outlining the terms of the financial order regarding such matters as child support or alimony payments, division of property and debt responsibilities, and other related issues.

A court will only be involved in these considerations after you have obtained the Decree Nisi agreement. The costs involved with considering financial and property matters can be very onerous.

In some cases these costs can substantially reduce the value of your assets and property. To prevent this from occurring we advise all of our clients to consider mediation.

What about adultery?

This could count as a reasonable ground for divorce or dissolution. However, your own adultery does not mean that you can pursue divorce proceedings. This will not be accepted by the court. See our low cost divorce package.

Through mediation you can arrive at an agreed position on financial and property matters that can then be agreed by a court.

What is a separation?

Couples may decide to separate before they undertake a divorce or dissolution. In this case, a separation agreement should be drawn up.

This agreement can help to reduce the time involved should you then with to undertake a divorce. A separation agreement usually involves taking into account financial and child maintenance consideration.

It is good practice to produce a separation agreement before divorce.

Civil partnership

If a couple in a civil partnership wishes to end their union, they must go through the civil partnerships divorce or dissolution process. This involves applying for a dissolution order from the court.

The court will then examine the reasons given for ending the partnership and decide whether to grant the order.

Depending on where the couple lives, other steps may need to be taken before or after the order is granted.

You will need your  civil partnership certificate and a valid form of ID to apply for the final order.

A dissolution of a civil partnership has similar legal consequences to those of divorce, including division of assets and pension rights.

Will I have to explain my divorce to a judge?

It is unusual to have to appear in court to gain a divorce. In rare situations, when you can not reach agreement, you may have to appear in front of a judge.

How long should I be married before I get a divorce?

You should be married for at least 12 months before you get a divorce. This is a legal requirement.