DIVORCE ADVICE – “DO YOU FEEL YOUR RELATIONSHIP COMING TO AN END?”
I’m no longer happy in my marriage. Is divorce the right choice?
To begin with, before actually considering divorce as an option, you should start by exploring the other available options in order to attempt to mend your relationship. It is extremely common to encounter problems between yourself and your partner, whether it is a minor argument or a lengthy separation, it does not mean your relationship is over. The factors that lead up to these problems should be taken into consideration in order to make a calculated and rational decision. There are multitude of available professional counselling services that can help you pinpoint the exact cause(s) of your relationship woes which you may not have even thought could be the reason of your issues and, if they are reparable, may end up being the solution to your problems.
If you have considered the previous routes and firmly decided that divorce is in fact the appropriate direction to be heading in, you should next make sure that the relationship between you and your spouse adheres to two important conditions. In England, these conditions state that, prior to filing for divorce,  you and your partner must have been together for a minimum of one year (as well as either of you having lived in England for at least a year prior to filing for the divorce) and  your relationship must be broken down irretrievably, which you must also be able to prove in a court of law. Valid proof can be any of the following; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation (if both parties agree), and five years separation.
Should I seek the assistance of a solicitor?
Going through a divorce can end up being a very long, drawn-out and stressful process, but this certainly need not be the case if you and your partner are fully aware of how the process works and your associated rights. The divorce itself can be handled without the involvement of any kind of solicitor if you and your partner can come to an agreement between each other, however, if you cannot agree and you think the whole process is going to be a to-and-fro battle, that is, constant disagreements regarding custody of your children and/or assets, then it is advisable to seek legal help from family solicitors.
I am certain that divorce is the way to go. What next?
The divorce process in itself is relatively straightforward. The person who intends to file for the divorce must present the evidence in a petition (form D8), which can be found at the appropriate section of www.direct.gov.uk. If your partner agrees with the petition, you will then be granted the ability to apply for a decree nisi by the court, which is a formal document stating that your reasons for divorce are sound and that you can proceed to the next stage. After the decree nisi, the final stage is receiving a document called a decree absolute, which can be applied for no sooner than 6 weeks after the decree nisi has been approved, and will indicate the formal termination of your marriage. After this, the process is not reversible and you will now be legally divorced.
What available services are there to help me afterwards?
After your divorce is final, it is natural to seek help or advice for you and your children. There are professional services, such as counsellors, or charities, such as Maypole (for women), that can help you better comes to term with your situation and generally advise you on how to proceed. A particularly helpful resource is the “Divorce, separation and relationship breakdown” section of Directgov website previously mentioned and this family law blog is also useful.