On occassion marriages will break up, which is why there is the legal process of divorce to end marriages. At least one in three marriages will end in divorce in the UK. While divorce itself is not especially complicated, there are several factorss that are tied into divorce that make it much more difficult, such as children and finances. On top of this, when a relationship ends there can often be a lot of ill feelings between a couple, and this means that the divorce process can often be an emotional and unpleasant thing to have to deal with.
In the England and Wales will you need to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably in order to get a divorce. There are five legal facts which make up why a couple's marriage has broken down irretrievably. These reasons are; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years of desertion or two or five years of separation. When the party wanting to get the divorce applies to the court, they will make a petition and be known as the petitioner throughout the process. The other party is known as the respondent. The petitioner will have to provide written evidence as to why the marriage has broken down including one of the facts stated above. Most divorces are granted on the first two facts, adultery and unreasonable behaviour and stand undefended. To ensure the divorce goes smoothly, it is advisable for the petitioner to inform the respondent as to what they are going to include in the petition before they file it.
The divorce process has about seven stages. It begins with the filing of the petition. The petitioner will have to provide the court with information as to why the marriage has broken down. If there are children involved the petitioner will also need to provide the court with a statement of arrangements which explains what will happen to the children after the divorce.
The next step is for the petition to be sent to the respondent along with a form for them to fill in and send back to the court. They will then have to decide if they want to dispute the petition, if they do they will have to fill in more forms and return them to court.
The petitioner will then have to confirm that what they have written in the petition is true by swearing on the affidavit.
The court will then pronounce the decree nisi and 43 days after this the petitioner can apply for the decree absolute which is the final stage of the divorce process.
Once the decree absolute has been received the couple is legally divorced and they will no longer have any legal obligations toward each other.
The divorce process can be a long one depending on the couples circumstances. Many couples will decide to go through the courts, however there are alternative divorce methods which can be a lot less expensive, time consuming and stressful than court proceedings, these are mediation and collaborative family law.