Who can start divorce proceedings?
I haven't been married long and it has been a disaster. How quickly can I get a divorce?
Our family home is in my spouse’s sole name and they've threatened to lock me out. Can they lawfully do this?
Are all the issues dealt with before the divorce is finalised?
Can I stop the divorce?
What if I’m not sure I want a divorce?
Can I do the divorce myself or do I need a solicitor?
What are the steps in the divorce process?
What can I do if my ex didn't show up at mediation?
Do I have to go to mediation if there has been domestic violence?
What Financial Orders can the Court make?
The Court has the power to make several different orders, including:
- Maintenance payments
- Maintenance payments for children
- Lump sum orders
- An order transferring the ownership or tenancy of a property or an asset
- A pension order
What if we reach an agreement between ourselves?
If an agreement is reached on financial matters, there does not need to be a full Hearing. The Court can be asked to make an Order setting out the terms of the agreement and this is called a Consent Order. You do not normally need to attend Court if you and your spouse have agreed the terms of a Consent Order.
What is a Clean Break?
A full clean break means neither spouse can make any future financial claim against the other. This would mean neither party could claim maintenance or a lump sum of money, and no claim could be made against the estate of a party if one of you dies. A Court Order is needed to provide for a full clean break financial settlement, and you will need to see a solicitor to draft all the necessary documents.
What happens if we can’t reach agreement on our finances?
If you are not able to reach an agreement it may be necessary to start Court Proceedings, but we can guide you through this process.
What is Financial Disclosure?
Disclosure is where you and your spouse provide each other with complete and comprehensive financial information about yourselves. This helps us and the Court to guide you on what a fair settlement would be.
What information will I need to provide for financial disclosure?
It is important to get accurate valuations on all the assets whether they are in your name or jointly with your spouse. You will be requested to provide items such as a valuation of the home, a redemption figure for your mortgage, bank statements, credit card statements, transfer values of pension schemes, values of stocks, shares or any bonds or other assets.
What is a Consent Order?
Once you and your ex have reached an agreement on the matrimonial finances this can be drafted into a Consent Order for the Court’s approval. You will not need to attend Court, but it is important to obtain a Consent Order so that there is certainty for the future and neither of you can seek to alter the terms of the agreement reached. Most Consent Orders contain a Clean Break clause which will prevent either one of you from trying to claim more money in the future.
Do we have to have a Consent Order?
You do not have to have a Consent Order, but this is the best way to ensure that any agreement reached is binding on you both. You will need to consult a solicitor to draft the Consent Order for you and ensure all the Court formalities are complied with.
Can my ex force me out of the house?
If you are married to your ex, they cannot force you out of the house, even if they are the sole owner. As a spouse you have the right to live in your partner’s home. We can register a Matrimonial Homes Right Notice on the property to prevent a sale taking place without your consent.
If you are not married the position is more complicated and much will depend upon how the house is owned and whether or not you have children together. We can help secure your position and advise on the best course of action for you.
What orders can the Court make regarding the Children?
There are a range of Orders which the Court can make including:
- Parental responsibility
- Child Arrangements Order- dealing with residence and/or contact
- Prohibited steps
- Specific issue
However, no Order will be made by the Court unless it is necessary and in the best interests of a child to do so. Court Orders are not necessary if an agreement is reached.
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility is the set of rights, duties and obligations which a person has regarding a child. It includes such things as the right to give consent to medical treatment.
Who has parental responsibility?
Married parents have joint parental responsibility.
If parents are not married, only the mother has parental responsibility. However, an unmarried father can get joint parental responsibility in certain ways:
- For children born after December 1st 2003, if the father is named on the birth certificate.
- By marrying the mother
- By entering into a “Parental Responsibility Agreement” with the mother (this must be on a prescribed printed form)
- By obtaining a Child Arrangements Order from the Court which provides that a child live with the father
- By applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order
- By being appointed a guardian either by the mother or the Court, although in these cases he will assume parental responsibility only on the mother’s death
Various other people may also acquire parental responsibility. A Local Authority will acquire parental responsibility if a Care Order is made in relation to the child, or anyone who is granted residence of the child, or even the Court if the child is made a Ward of Court. Family members will also acquire parental responsibility if they are made Special Guardians.
Can I move away with my children without my ex’s consent?
If your ex has Parental Responsibility for your child then they have the right to be consulted about where the child lives, which school they go to etc. If you want to move to a different part of the country or even abroad, you will need to discuss this with your ex and try to agree contact arrangements etc. If you cannot agree you can apply for a Specific Issue Order from the Court. The Court will look at all the circumstances, but if the parent who the child lives with is moving because of work or family commitments it is likely the Court will agree to the child moving and will grant a Specific Issue Order.
Can I stop my ex introducing the children to their new partner?
If your ex has a new partner, then it is inevitable that sooner or later they will want your children to meet them. This can be a difficult time for the children, and it is something which ideally should be discussed and agreed between parents. Mediation may be able to help with this if you find it difficult to talk to your ex.
If there are very good reasons why the children should have no contact with the new partner it may be possible to obtain an order from the Court preventing this.
How can I ensure my ex sticks to contact arrangements with the children?
If your ex is not very good at sticking to an agreed pattern of contact it might be a good idea to seek a Child Arrangements Order which clearly sets out the contact they should have with the children.
Can I take the children on holiday without my ex’s agreement?
You cannot take the children on holiday abroad without the consent of everyone who has parental responsibility unless the children are living with you under the terms of a Child Arrangements Order. If you have a Child Arrangements Order stating the children should live with you, you may take them abroad for up to 28 days without your ex’s consent. Otherwise, you will need their consent (a letter will usually suffice) or a Court Order.
How do I have contact with my kids if my ex won’t let me see them?
Should I stop contact if my ex isn't paying maintenance?
Can my ex stop my kids meeting my new partner?
I'm worried that my children's wishes and feeling aren't being considered
Can I change the name of my child?
Do stepparents get Parental Responsibility?
Can my ex (unmarried partner) make a claim on my house?
What are Pension Orders?
The Court can order that on the retirement of a spouse his or her ex-spouse should have part of his or her pension and/or lump sum paid to them instead. This is called an “attachment” order.
Alternatively, the Court has the power to “share” a pension between spouses at the time of the divorce rather than the division having to wait until retirement. This means that a percentage of your spouse’s pension can be transferred into a pension of your own.
Can I stop my ex claiming a share of my pension?
Pensions are treated as a matrimonial asset by the Courts. Sometimes they can be the highest value asset. The Court is therefore unlikely to disregard the value of the pension when looking at the division of your assets.
This does not mean that your ex is necessarily entitled to half your pension though. The Court will look at the finances as a whole and will take into account the value of any pension your ex may have. If your ex is entitled to a share of your pension you may be able to pay them a greater lump sum from the sale of the matrimonial home for example, rather than splitting your pension.
There are many factors taken into account and options to be considered and we can help guide you through the best options for you and your ex.
Can I claim half of my ex’s pension?
If you are separating or divorcing, it is important to sort out all the matrimonial finances and this will include any pensions that you or your spouse may have. You are not automatically entitled to claim half of your spouse’s pension, but the value of their pension will be taken into account when looking at a division of the assets. If your ex has a pension that is worth considerably more than yours, it is likely that you will be given a share of the pension.
How can I find out how much my ex’s pension is worth?
If you are separating or divorcing you will need to sort out all the matrimonial finances -including any pensions that you each may have. We will seek ‘full disclosure’ of your spouse’s assets. This means that we will ask for copies of any bank accounts, pay slips, investments, and debts. We will also ask to see confirmation of the current transfer value of your spouse’s pension.