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Divorce and the breakdown of family relationships is one of the most traumatic and stressful times. It affects your personal happiness and health and also has implications on the financial position of you and your children. At Maria Fogg Family Law we provide a full range of services in respects of a divorce, financial matters and children/custody matters.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 governs divorce in England and Wales. Parties must have been married for at least one year before Divorce Proceedings can be issued in the Court.

There is only one ground for a divorce “the marriage has irretrievably broken down” and to prove this the Petition must use one of five factors:

  1. Adultery. Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour. Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
  3. Desertion.  Your spouse has deserted you for at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition.
  4. Two years Separation with Consent. You and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition.
  5. Five years Separation. You and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of 5 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.

A Divorce can take 4-6 months or longer if there are financial matters to be resolved. A Divorce is a relatively straight forward procedure if your estranged spouse cooperates with the divorce. Generally neither party has to attend Court for the divorce.
It may be prudent to resolve financial matter before applying for a divorce as upon Decree Absolute your marriage ends and so to do many rights you have under the Inheritance Rules, Insurance Policies and Pension Provisions.

In some cases it is possible to ask the Court for an Order that your spouse pays for the legal costs of the divorce, though we cannot guarantee the Judge will make such an Order.

Judicial Separation.

Judicial Separation is an alternative to Divorce. It is generally sought by religious couples.
Judicial separation is the same procedure as Divorce except with Judicial Separation the Court grants a Decree of Judicial Separation and not a Decree Absolute for a Divorce. With Judicial Separation the parties remain married to each other and cannot remarry. The grounds for Judicial Separation are the same as Divorce.  Spouses can apply for Judicial Separation at any time and within one year of the marriage. At Maria Fogg Family Law we can advise you as to the legal implications of Judicial Separation.

Dissolution of Civil Partnerships

Civil Partnerships are still a fairly new legal recognition of same sex couples and is governed by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. As with married couples, civil partners cannot apply for Dissolution within the first year of the Civil Partnership. There is only one ground for a dissolution that is that the Civil Partnership has irretrievably broken down and to prove this the Petitioner must use one of the 4 factors:

  1. Unreasonable Behaviour
  2. Two Years Desertion
  3. Two Years Separation With Consent
  4. Five Years Separation

As with married couples the Court has the power to make Orders with regards to financial matters and child custody matters. At Maria Fogg Family Law we can provide you with full expert legal advice regarding Divorce, Judicial Separation and Dissolution of Civil Partnerships.

Please contact us for further information and advice.