As specialists in family law we’re keenly aware of the fact that many of the legal decisions which people take are based on the strongest possible emotions as much as expert advice from solicitors. We handle cases involving events such as adoption, children disputes and domestic abuse, and in all circumstances we recognise that people need support and empathy when making momentous decisions.
This is particularly true when it comes to divorce. Ending a relationship is always going to be a deeply stressful event, and could become even more complicated and upsetting when children are involved. The strength of the feelings in play makes it all the more important that anyone choosing to start divorce proceedings understands exactly what’s involved in divorce and has the process explained to them in a clear and transparent manner. We know from experience that many people opt to look into a divorce after Christmas, choosing to enjoy this special, family-oriented time of the year before actually taking the step of beginning to end the relationship. Even though they may have opted to shift the divorce after Christmas, many people are still keen to gather as much information as they can in order to prepare themselves practically and emotionally. If you’re thinking of divorce after Christmas and need more information to decide whether it’s the right step to take, or even if you’ve already chosen to opt for divorce after Christmas and would just like the reassurance of some practical detail, our team of experts are here to help.
We’ll explain exactly how a divorce after Christmas will happen, and what the grounds for divorce actually are. To begin with, this will mean that you have to have been legally married for more than a year and that you can demonstrate to the court that the marriage has broken down in such a manner that it can’t be saved. Legislation passed in parliament this year means that a so-called ‘no faults divorce’ will be possible from approximately the autumn of 2021, but for now, any divorce after Christmas will depend upon being able to demonstrate that there are grounds for divorce. This means a clear reason why the marriage has broken completely, and the alternatives are:
This applies if your husband or wife has had sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex. It should be noted that adultery can’t be used as grounds for divorce if you carried on living together for 6 months after it was discovered.
This covers any behaviour which means you can’t reasonably be expected to carry on living with your husband or wife. Examples could include physical violence or verbal abuse and threats, excessive drinking or drug taking and refusing to pay toward any shared living expenses.
If your husband or wife has left you for at least two years before you apply for a divorce after Christmas then desertion could be used as the grounds for that divorce. This will only apply if both parties agree and your husband or wife is willing to put that agreement down in writing. If you have lived separately for five years, on the other hand, you can apply for a divorce on the grounds of separation even if your husband or wife doesn’t agree.
Before actually applying for a divorce after Christmas it would be worth sitting down with your husband or wife and trying to agree on any arrangements for looking after children in the future, including any maintenance payments which might be made. Our advice to anyone seeking a divorce after Christmas would always be to agree as much as possible in an amicable manner and seek mediation if it makes this process easier. If you can agree details such as childcare and the division of property and other assets, as well as the grounds for divorce, then there’s a very good chance the divorce could take place without any need for court appearances, something which would remove much of the stress and financial pressure from the situation.
The manner in which any divorce after Christmas proceeds will depend upon the precise circumstances of the relationship, and in particular the degree of agreement you’re able to reach with your husband or wife. In all cases we’ll talk you through exactly how the application will be made, what will happen if the application for divorce is contested, and the timescale for being granted a decree nisi and then a decree absolute.
If you want to find out more about seeking a divorce after Christmas or just have questions regarding divorces in general, please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected]. We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.