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Getting a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership? 4 essential tips
Getting a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership is not straightforward. In fact, people get caught out by not tying up the financial aspects of the relationship; often with long-term repercussions.
This article covers four areas to consider. Bearing in mind that every relationship is unique, we would recommend that you speak to an experienced divorce solicitor.
In short, there are two aspects to consider. The first is the Decree Proceedings which ultimately result in the marriage being dissolved. The second part is addressing financial issues.
Essentials for getting a divorce or ending a civil partnership
- Obtaining the Decree Absolute (the document which dissolves a marriage), does not mean that matrimonial finances (e.g. family home, pension etc) are sorted out. Many people are unaware of the importance of getting a financial order. If there is no specific Court Order which deals with financial matters, the door is open for either spouse to make a claim against the other in the future, regardless of whether you are divorced!
- The process to end a civil partnership is known as ‘dissolution’; this follows the same process as a divorce, only four of five facts apply:
- Unreasonable behaviour.
- 2 years separation and consent.
- 5 years separation.
‘Adultery’ is not applicable to a civil partnership as UK law only recognises adultery as happening between a man and a woman.
- Some people mistakenly believe that they cannot pursue divorce proceedings without consent of their spouse. This is not the case. It is only a requirement that the other party (the respondent) is given the option of opposing the proceedings. In some circumstances it may be necessary to have a spouse personally served with documentation before the case is allowed to proceed unopposed.
- If you have not reached a financial agreement and the other party has a significant pension, you may wish to defer from applying for the Decree Absolute (the document which formally dissolves the divorce), due to pension rights.
My advice is always to speak to a solicitor who has plenty of experience of dealing with family law and civil partnerships. While not everyone can hope that the process will be completely amicable, an expert can definitely reduce the level of stress you are likely to experience.
Talking in confidence
Jennifer Carr is an experienced divorce solicitor based in Liverpool, who has almost 10 years’ experience. She also visits clients across the North West.