How Divorce Law Works
When it comes to divorce it is all too easy to be taken in by media representations of the problem. The fact is that in the UK divorce can be either a long drawn out process or it can be swift and virtually automated. Nowadays the number of divorce cases where the couple are required to attend court are few and far between. The majority of divorce cases are undefended, i.e. most couples have already agreed that they would be better apart. While there may be a lot of arguments and upsets to begin with, by the time the papers are are ready for fileing most couples just need to sign them. When things run smoothly it means they don’t have to attend court. The main reason divorce cases are dealt with in this way is financial, it costs a huge amount of money to go to court and contest a divorce case that could run for months.
In the UK almost every aspect of your divorce will go through on paper. Once your solicitor has taken your statement and views on the marriage and both you and your partner have signed the forms, it’s all but complete. The documents are very formal and written in legal terms but your solicitor will make everything clear to you. One thing you may not have anticipated is that changes in the legal aid system mean that divorce is an expensive process for all concerned. You can get help with your expenses if you qualify and again, your solicitor will be able to advise you on this.
When there are children involved and a couple find it difficult to agree on access and residency issues, your solicitor or the family court may refer you to mediation services because this is a lot cheaper than sorting the whole thing out in front of a judge. The law is ostensibly neutral and nowadays if the wife earns more than the husband the judge is just as likely to make a maintenance order against her. If you have children then in the court’s eyes the children’s welfare is paramount and where a couple cannot agree the court may ask the child support services to appoint someone to assess the situation.
Just thinking about divorce can be traumatic and you should be sure that you have explored every other avenue and that this is a last resort. If everything goes smoothly with your divorce, once the papers are signed on both sides, you should receive notice from the court to say a decree nisi is in progress. The decree nisi is a cooling off period and gives both parties six weeks before the decree absolute when the divorce proceedings are final. In most cases you will not have to attend court and will receive notification of the decree absolute by post. A good solicitor cannot stop the pain of divorce, that is purely personal, but he or she can help to make the process as straightforward and quick as possible, and that is what they aim to do.