As a divorce lawyer I am asked many questions about getting a divorce and the two that follow are by far the most common where the break up is amicable or where money might be an issue.
Q. I want to divorce my wife. We have been separated for 6 months. There has been no adultery and it is all very amicable. Can we rely on “irreconcilable differences?”
A. Unfortunately not. There is only one ground for divorce which is that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. To prove this to the court you must rely on 1 of 5 facts in your Petition. These are – adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years separation with your wife’s consent, desertion and 5 years separation. As you have only been separated for 6 months and there has been no adultery if you want to divorce now you must rely on your wife’s unreasonable behaviour. You have to prove to the court that your wife’s behaviour has meant that you no longer wish to live with her. This doesn’t have to be extreme or outrageous behaviour nor does it need to be extensive. 4 or 5 brief paragraphs should be sufficient. Examples of behaviour are: lack of emotional support, abuse, excessive unsociability, lack of communication and financial irresponsibility. You should try and agree the wording with your wife before the petition is issued. The only alternative would be to wait until you have been separated for 2 years.
Q. I am thinking about getting divorced but am worried about the cost. Do I need a solicitor?
A. Legal fees are always a worry. However, experienced family lawyers are experts and in the same way that you would see a doctor, dentist, or accountant for expert advice you should also see a family lawyer if you are separating or divorcing. Yes it will cost you but even if the divorce is amicable you should still ensure that your interests are protected and that all court paperwork is correct. Many solicitors offer fixed fees for an initial consultation and for uncontested divorce proceedings or a minimal fee for just checking the documents for you. Similarly if you have reached a financial settlement it is still worth running this by a solicitor to make sure you haven’t missed anything and getting it drawn up into a proper agreement/order so that it represents a full and final settlement protecting you. Always check with the solicitor what the charges are in advance and what is included in the fee and what is not.
For specialist advice about your particular circumstances call our local family and divorce lawyer Karen Weiner on 01923 521003 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org