Research carried out in January of 2020 found that internet searches for those seeking a divorce rose by a staggering 230 percent compared to the previous month of December 2019. Typically, law firms and family solicitors have become used to the surge in couples contacting them in the early part of the year, as they finally reach breaking point. So, what are the guidelines for seeking a divorce?
Grounds for Divorce
Divorce law UK rules that you must fulfil a set of requirements that are known as grounds for divorce. They are:
- Unreasonable Behaviour
This is when one member of the partnership can prove that the other has behaved in a way that is unacceptable to live with. In most cases, this can include instances of excessive drinking or financial extravagance.
You must be able to prove that your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another person of the opposite sex and that you find it intolerable to live with them as a spouse.
This grounds for divorce is rarely used because it involves proving that a spouse had the intent to divorce throughout a 2 year period that they had deserted their partner for.
- 2 years separation with consent
If you and your partner have agreed to live apart for at least two years after the presentation of your divorce petition, and you both agree to a divorce, then this can also be considered grounds for a divorce.
- 5 years separation with no consent required
If you and your spouse have been living apart for five years after the presentation of your divorce petition, then it is considered grounds for divorce, and your former partner does not have to consent.
You may think that proving grounds for and being granted a divorce is the end of the process. However, there have been a number of stories in recent times that show that it is sensible to also get a divorce consent order. Divorce consent orders mean that your ex-spouse will never be able to claim any finances from you at a later date. Once you have agreed a financial arrangement with your ex-partner, this can be drafted into a legally binding order by your solicitor.
It is unlikely that an order like this can be overturned by the courts after they have been agreed and approved, as they are considered final in order to benefit both parties.
What happens if you can’t come to an agreement with your ex-partner
If you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on how to divide your assets even with mediation, you can ask the court to decide for you. Getting a consent order is no longer an option if this happens. Both of you have to agree to split the assets in whatever way the court decides.
How will it affect any children?
If you have children together, you can agree and settle child maintenance arrangements at the same time as a consent order, or on a separate occasion if you prefer. Even if you were not legally married or in a civil partnership, you will still both be responsible for your children. Child maintenance must be arranged even if you are separating as an unmarried couple.
Going through a divorce is always difficult but taking the right legal steps can ensure that you can focus on the things that matter. Family solicitors can help you with every eventuality and try and makes things as easy as possible.