|Ask the Chiswick Expert|
AR Legal Solicitors' Christina Franklin answers some common questions on divorce proceedings
Local Chiswick solicitors AR Legal in Turnham Green Terrace have been advising Chiswick residents on a variety of legal issues including matrimonial, property, probate, employment and litigation matters since 2002.
In 2009 they were awarded Lexcel quality mark accreditation in recognition of their commitment to excellence – the only firm in Chiswick and one of only a few in West London to hold this quality mark.
Solicitor Christina Franklin (pictured left ) gives us a brief overview of divorce proceedings.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is only one ground for divorce – that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. That the marriage has broken down is evidenced by one of 5 facts (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation and consent or 5 years separation). Parties also must have been married for at least one year before issuing divorce proceedings.
What does the divorce process involve?
The process from the initial issue of a divorce petition to the final divorce, the Decree Absolute, is relatively straightforward and is usually carried out without either party needing to attend Court. It is the sorting out of finances and/or issues regarding any children of the family which tend to be more complicated and time consuming.
How will I be left financially after a divorce?
Sorting out the finances on divorce is known as ancillary relief and is inevitably often the most important concern to those contemplating divorce. There are unfortunately no hard and fast rules regarding how finances are divided after divorce and the facts of each case are different. The Court will look at all the circumstances of the case including factors such as the length of the marriage, children and earning capacity. We are however assisted by various guidelines and caselaw so a good family solicitor will be able to give you an idea of how finances may be dealt with given your individual circumstances.
As a general overview the Court can make orders in relation to the following 3 aspects:
1. Lump sums of money and/or transfer of property
What is the best way of resolving matters?
The first step is to take initial legal advice on your position. It is important to find a solicitor you feel comfortable with and who you feel is knowledgeable and understands your circumstances. Divorce proceedings are stressful and can last many months – a good solicitor will ensure that you fully understand and appreciate the decisions you are being asked to make and the long term impact of those decisions.
Will I have to go to Court?
Court proceedings should always be a last resort and legal costs can quickly spiral out of control if not kept in check. There are a number of ways in which disputes over finances or child contact matters on divorce may be resolved out of Court. For example parties can engage in mediation or round table negotiations with their solicitors.
Your solicitor should support and assist you in coming to an agreed settlement with your former spouse as an agreed settlement is often the most cost effective and amicable way of dealing with the matter.
AR Legal recognises that contemplating or going through a divorce can be a frightening and emotionally stressful experience. Our role is to provide you clear and focused legal advice and to guide you through the legal process. We are here to protect your interests.
Christina advises on all aspects of family law including divorce, child contact issues, pre-nuptial agreements, co-habitation issues and issues surrounding domestic violence. She also deals with employment law matters. Christina is a member of Resolution whose members are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes and seek to promote a non-confrontational approach.
AR Legal offer initial fixed fee consultations for matrimonial related issues. We are pleased to offer readers of ChiswickW4 a 10% discount on their initial consultation. Simply mention this article when making an appointment.
January 18, 2011