Currently couples cannot divorce unless they have been separated for at least two years unless they file for ‘no-fault’ divorce, despite the fact that the grounds have no bearing on any financial settlement or arrangement involving children; they merely enable the divorce to proceed to the next stage.
For many people, the two-year wait is unfeasible and couples are forced to resort to recording details either of their partner’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour in order to proceed, even in situations when they have mutually agreed that their marriage is over. This exacerbates an already difficult and distressing process, so much so that many family lawyers believe that divorce law urgently needs to change in order for couples to divorce with dignity without the wait. Having said that, any experienced sensible divorce solicitor will always look for (and usually find), examples of what will be considered unreasonable behaviour by the court, but which does not involve too much embarrassment or hurt to the other party. In this context, mentioning, for example, domestic violence or sexual difficulties will almost always inflame the situation – whereas more general examples of what could be seen as unreasonable behaviour such as “the respondent showed no affection to me” or “the respondent showed little interest in what I have to say” are much less likely to cause problems.
Regardless of the reasons for divorce, disclosure to the court is a necessary evil for the successful filing of a petition, particularly if the parties are dividing property, estates and other finances. The petition (Form E) is a fairly lengthy document which your divorce solicitors will need to help you with, and which discloses such detailed information about the finances of each party as salaries, funds, loans, debts, annuity and any other income.
A Statement of Arrangements should also be completed, in which the present welfare, i.e. education, health and living conditions of any children from the marriage must be disclosed. The court will also want to see that the children’s welfare after the divorce is also clearly demonstrated, through such information as visitation frequency and maintenance.
Divorce and separation is often a time of conflict and heartache which puts families under tremendous pressure. Contact our team of specialist Salisbury, Amesbury, Andover, Verwood, or Rugby divorce solicitors at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you receive the most expert legal advice and help to secure your future financial position and wellbeing.