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17 Jul 2020

Family & Matrimonial

If your marriage has broken down during lockdown, we’re here to help.

With lockdown forcing so many couples to spend time together for months on end, reports are that, sadly, divorce rates are set to soar.
Kate Thomas, Head of Family and Matrimonial Law at Harding Evans Solicitors, answers some of the most common questions on seeking legal advice.

For many people, the last few months of lockdown have given them a rare opportunity to enjoy spending time at home with their families and reconnecting with their partners. But we know that the stresses of the enforced lockdown will have led to misery for many others, forcing them to re-evaluate their marriages and realise that this is not the life they want.

We’d urge anyone to think carefully about starting divorce proceedings at this time of great stress and uncertainty. But if there really is no way through for your marriage, we’ve answered some of the most common questions, to help make things clearer at this difficult time.

Q: Can anyone get divorced?

A: You can get divorced in England and Wales if you have been married for over a year, can prove that your relationship has permanently broken down, (citing one of the following grounds; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for the last two years), your marriage is legally recognised in the UK and the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent home of your spouse.

Q: What do I need to consider before applying for a divorce?

A: There will be a lot of things to consider, from arrangements for looking after any children and child maintenance payments to how you will divide your money and property.

Q: What is the actual process I’ll need to go through?

A: Whilst you can attempt to manage the process yourself, it’s usually best to contact a specialist divorce lawyer, especially if there are children involved or if your partner doesn’t agree to the divorce.

A divorce petition will be prepared and filed at Court. Once your spouse has acknowledged this, you’ll need to prepare a Statement in Support to proceed, which will lead to pronouncement of a Decree Nisi. Six weeks and one day later, you may apply for your Decree Absolute.

Financial issues and any arrangements for children may be dealt with either by using a local mediation service or via an application to Court to determine the distribution of matrimonial assets and arrangements for children.

Q: How long does it take to get a divorce?

A: This can vary considerably. With no complications, it may be possible within four to five months, but if there are financial issues that cannot be resolved, an application to Court for Financial Remedy may be required, taking six to twelve months.

Harding Evans is one of Wales’ top 10 law firms and has a specialist team of experienced Family and Matrimonial lawyers. If you would like to speak to one of the team, please call on 01633 760678 or contact us here.

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