It’s a sad fact that we receive more enquiries regarding divorce at this time of year, than at any other. For many, the new year invokes a spirit of new beginnings and leaving the past behind.
The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 130,000 couples divorce each year, but if your marriage or civil partnership breaks down, there are legal formalities that have to be dealt with in order to end that relationship. A marriage can end in divorce or it can be annulled and equally, a civil partnership can be dissolved or annulled.
Whilst there are strict reasons for nullity, this can be applied for at any time after the marriage or civil partnership. At Palmers, we can advise you on whether your circumstances are suitable for a nullity, but it is important to remember that having the marriage or civil partnership annulled can have an impact on your status in the future and on financial claims.
A divorce or dissolution can only be applied for more than one year after the ceremony. To initiate divorce proceedings, the marriage or civil partnership must have irretrievably broken down and this can be proved by a number of facts. In divorce proceedings these can be:
- unreasonable behaviour
- a period of separation in excess of two years if both parties agree
- a period of desertion for two years
- a period of separation in excess of five years, whether the other party objects or not
The points listed above can also be used to dissolve a civil partnership, except in the case of adultery, where infidelity would be cited as unreasonable behaviour.
Either party, regardless of who initiated the divorce proceedings, can claim financial relief, which may deal with the sale or transfer of property, maintenance payments, a lump sum payment and/or a pension sharing or attachment order.
If you need help deciding whether you can apply for an order, it would be wise to seek legal advice. Even if you think you can reach an agreement with your former partner, talking to a solicitor will make sure your interests are protected.
Palmers’ practitioners are members of Resolution – an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters – and comply with the Resolution Code of Practice. So if you have any questions about divorce or any of the topics raised here, our team of family lawyers can advise on, and assist you with, the right course of action for you and talk you through the effect on your finances. Alternatively, you may want to look online at our library of useful guides, which includes a guide to divorce and separation.