Divorce & Separation
Divorce, Annulment & Judicial Separation
The simple fact is that divorce and separation (including dissolution, annulment, and judicial separation) can be an extremely difficult time for you and your family. It does not take an expert to note this. However, it does take an expert to ensure that you receive an effective service that seeks to deal with the proceedings in an intellectual, cost-effective and determined manner. We aim to work with you every step of the way and seek to avoid unnecessary delays, disputes, and costs. This should give you the peace of mind that you have the right team fighting your corner.
We can assist you with your divorce and help you overcome common obstacles faced by individuals. The assistance we provide can often be under a fixed-fee structure which will assist you with respect to your finances.
We can assist you whether you are applying or responding to the divorce. The divorce process can often be complicated especially with issues that stem from it, i.e. if your ex-partner refuses to sign the acknowledgment of service, if you are unable to locate your ex-partner or if your divorce petition is refused at the Decree Nisi stage, etc.
We are well experienced in such circumstances and have effective plans of action to assist you to achieve the overall outcome of divorce and separation.
The application is named the Petition. The person making the application is named the Petitioner and the person responding is known as the Respondent. In order to apply for a divorce, you must have been married for one year. If this is not the case, there are alternatives such as instructing our firm to prepare the documentation so when the one year has passed, we can commence proceedings without delay.
We will need to prove to the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. The concept of ‘no-fault’ divorce will thankfully develop in the future, however, in the meantime, one spouse must petition for divorce against the other.
The divorce can proceed on the basis of one of five facts:
- your spouse has committed adultery
- your spouse has behaved unreasonably
- your spouse has deserted you for two years
- you have lived apart for two years and your spouse consents to the divorce, or
- you have lived apart for five years
It is very important, to prevent disputes, costs, and additional proceedings that the correct fact is chosen before you proceed. We will take your in-depth instructions and advise you as to the best course of action.
The undefended divorce process has the following main steps:
- Instructing – The free initial consultation with LPS. Followed by your decision to provide our firm full instructions and instruct our firm to act for you and fight in your corner. We will prepare all of the necessary documentation and take the stress away from you;
- Filing & Service – We will file the petition with the court on your behalf and seek for the case to be opened and assigned a case number.
- Acknowledgment of Service – The court will then serve the documentation on the Respondent and they, in turn, will need to complete and return an Acknowledgment of Service firm.
- Decree-Nisi – This step does not mean that you are divorced. We will then take further instructions and draft an application for Decree Nisi and a separate Statement in Support. This will be forwarded to the court for the file to be considered. We will also discuss financial matters, in and around this step, to ensure that you are best protected regarding these matters.
- Decree-Absolute – We must then wait a period of 6 weeks and 1 day after the grant of the Decree Nisi to apply for the Decree Absolute. This would end the marriage. We would have to reconsider your financial circumstances at this stage in order to ensure that you do not lose financial entitlements attached to the marriage.
If the matter becomes defended, we will need to provide you further in-depth advice to prevent the matters being embroiled in costly litigation. In most cases, this would be a futile exercise in wasted costs. Remember, in most cases, the process is administrative and means that we can avoid you having to attend court at all. If the matter becomes defended this is not the case and it will take expert tailored advice to assist you in managing the matters in a cost-effective manner whilst achieving the outcome you desire.
How Long Will This Take?
The concept of a ‘quickie’/ ‘quick’ divorce is misunderstood. The process will take anywhere between 3-6 months and this is very much dependant on the court’s backlogs. If you are in a hurry to complete the process, inform our team and we shall ensure we take every measure on our side to progress the matters in a timely fashion.
This is not a divorce and is a formal separation through the court process. The parties will remain married and if you are considering a permanent dissolution then you should consider the alternative of divorce.
The next question we expect is, what circumstances give rise to a judicial separation. Well, you may not want to dissolve marriage:
- due to personal reasons, i.e. religious reasoning;
- due to you being within the first year of marriage and seeking to deal with financial matters immediately;
- due to you seeking reserve certain benefits that could be lost on divorce (i.e. pensions).
The terms within the proceeding and process are quite similar to divorce with one major difference being that there is no Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute stage. Rather there is a Decree of Judicial Separation.
It is possible for you to apply for your marriage to be annulled, dependant on your circumstances. It is possible to make such an application within the first year of marriage. If you apply an extensive period after your marriage, we would have to explain the reasons for the delay to the court when making the application.
Dependant on your circumstances, we can argue:
- that marriage was void – as it was never legally valid;
- that the marriage is voidable – as explained below.
In certain circumstances, we can seek to annul your marriage and if successful it would mean that in the eyes of the law, the marriage never existed in the first place.
The following reasons can evidence a marriage being void:
- one or both of you were under 16 years of age;
- you are both closely related;
- one of you was already married or within a civil partnership.
The following reasons can evidence a marriage being voidable:
- your spouse was pregnant by someone else when you married;
- one spouse is transitioning to another gender;
- your spouse had an STD when you married;
- you were forced into the marriage and did not consent
- the marriage was not consummated.
Why Choose LPS?
Well, the initial telephone consultation is non-obligatory and free of charge. Therefore, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Further, we are a determined team who do not shy away from complex disputed matters with international elements. This is not to say that we are not there for those with more straightforward circumstances. To us, all clients are equal – regardless.
We can handle instructions from clients across England & Wales with geographical locations not being a problem. Azhar Hussain (Head of Family) has practiced in the highly competitive legal markets of London and Manchester so is best placed to provide you with a high level of service without the prohibitive costs. The team will be able to assist you with both domestic and international aspects of your family disputes and is experienced in dealing with matters from those that are straightforward and routine to those that are high value – with often high net worth assets and income. If you have a matter involving difficult circumstances such as complex pensions, business arrangements, inherited assets, and international assets – do not worry and call us for guidance.
Azhar Hussain is a member of Resolution First for Family and therefore LPS aims to promote a client-focused legal service that aims to deal with matters constructively. It does not make sense to work in any way otherwise. This type of approach helps to at the very least narrow down the issues and leads to a process that tends to have fewer disputes, costs and formal court proceedings
We consider LPS to be the first choice for an effective service. If you need any further assistance, contact our office on 0800 996 1807 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.