Family Law > Divorce & Separation
Divorce: Where to Start
Filing for divorce is always a difficult process, but we will do everything we can to make it easier on you. We know how hard it is to talk to someone else about your relationship, especially when feelings are running high.
DO YOU NEED ADVICE?
Once you have taken the decision to separate from your spouse or partner this can be a distressing time. However, taking legal advice can make this process easier to understand and navigate.
When it comes to divorce proceedings, we believe in defusing the situation, not fanning the flames. When you are separating, a real concern for many couples is what the financial outcome of the split will be. Questions concerning housing, child arrangements and bills are often asked to which are team can provide guidance on.
We aim for a solution that works for everyone – you, your partner and your children (if you have them) and we do our best to keep you out of court and minimise stress
We offer an initial consultation about your situation and what you want to do next.
During this first meeting, we’ll explain all your options, and what we charge for our work.
If you decide to go ahead and apply for a divorce, we’ll be there to help you at every stage from then on.
How it works
We’ll usually recommend that you go through mediation as a first step. You will both sit down with an impartial third party to agree a financial settlement and/or arrangements for the future care of any children. (Divorce laws require you to try mediation before you go to court unless you have to make an emergency application.)
If mediation does not proceed for any reason, there are several ways to proceed.
You can negotiate a settlement between your lawyers, with us acting on your behalf.
During a divorce process it can be difficult for both former spouses to agree on a financial settlement. As a final step, if you can’t agree on how to divide up your assets, you can apply to the court for a financial order and ask the court to decide.
To fairly distribute assets between former spouses/civil partners filing for divorce, a court will use financial remedies. The courts are able to make a range of orders for payments, transfer of property and/or assets, maintenance and pensions. Though, the position on this differs for cohabiting couples.
The first hearing will usually be about what the assets are worth and whether further financial disclosure is required from you and your partner. The Court will set a First Directions Appointment (FDA) before a District Judge after you apply to Court. The Judge will identify the issues and made orders to get any information needed to organise matters. This must occur 12 weeks after the application is issued.
If things are not resolved, the next hearing is the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment (FDR). The second hearing will aim for a financial settlement, with the judge giving an opinion (not a judgement) on each side’s proposals. We can support you in preparing for the hearing and appearing in Court.
If you still cannot agree, the judge will make the decision for you at the third and final hearing. Here a different District Judge will hear evidence and consider the documents before coming to a final judgement. It can take several months before a date for the final hearing is secured. It is possible to reach an agreement prior to this by submitting a note called a Consent Order. This can be submitted to the Judge for approval at any point. Once a financial order has been agreed, the Court will approve it and issue a consent order.
However you reach agreement, we’ll be there to help you put it into practice – selling properties, transferring ownership and setting up pension sharing and so on. We’ll also apply for the decree absolute, which ends the divorce process.
HOWEVER YOU REACH AGREEMENT, WE’LL BE THERE TO HELP YOU PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
You can apply for a financial order for a number of reasons:
- To agree a lump sum payment.
- To decide who owns a property.
- To agree maintenance payments to help with children or living expenses.
- To obtain a share of your partner’s pension.
- An application for a financial order can only be made at the beginning of the divorce process. If you have already applied for the final legal document (known as a decree absolute), you cannot apply for a financial order.
Freezing Orders: Freezing orders are a type of financial order issued to prevent your partner from disposing or dealing with assets until the conclusion of the divorce. The Court must be satisfied that your partner is planning to sell an asset with the intention of preventing you from receiving the financial benefit from the asset. If a freezing order is agreed by the Court, it can last for as long as the court deems it necessary.
Pension Sharing: Pension sharing can also be included in a financial order. This allows one person to receive a percentage of the total value of the other person’s pension, this is called a “Pension Credit”. Pension sharing arrangements can include, state pensions, private pensions and any schemes offered by an employer.
DO YOU NEED ADVICE?
If you require a fixed fee package, we can put you in touch with a member of the team who offers this service.
To learn more about our divorce and separation service please get in touch.
YOUR DIVORCE & SEPARATION | FAMILY LAW | TAYLOR ROSE MW EXPERTS
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