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5 questions to ask before divorce

When relationships turn sour, emotions run high. Expect throwaway comments and knee-jerk responses.

That’s why it pays to understand what divorce might mean for you. Know what you could be getting into, and make sure that it’s what you want before taking those hugely significant steps towards bringing your marriage to a formal end.

You could start by asking these questions:

Why divorce?

You’ll have your reasons. Perhaps the relationship has run its course. Maybe your husband or wife has seriously let you down. But there are only certain grounds on which a divorce can be granted.  

First off, you need to have been married for at least a year. And you must be able to show that your marriage has permanently broken down, by establishing one of these legal grounds:

  • Adultery – Your spouse had sex with someone else of the opposite sex. If you lived together for at least six months after finding out about it, you won’t be able to rely on the adultery ground.
  • Unreasonable behaviour - This could be anything from domestic abuse, to a lack of emotional support. 
  • Desertion – Your spouse has left you, without good reason and without your agreement, for at least two years.
  • Two years’ separation – You have lived apart from your spouse for at least two years and you both agree to the divorce.
  • Five years’ separation – You and your spouse have lived apart for at least five years. In this case, they don’t have to agree to the divorce.

Where do our children come into this?

Child welfare is a priority for families, lawyers and the courts. Divorcing couples are encouraged to work together for the sake of their children.

The ideal scenario is that you and your spouse come to an agreement about where your children will live, how they will be provided for, and the arrangements for spending time with each of you. The more amicable you can make this, the better.

But if you and your spouse can’t, for whatever reason, put in place proper arrangements then it will be up to a judge to do this - in your children’s best interests.

When will my divorce go through?

If yours is a straightforward case (where you and your spouse agree everything including the reason for the divorce, the arrangements for children, and the division of assets) you should expect the divorce to be finalised in less than six months.

Where things are more complicated – perhaps there’s been a breakdown in communication between you and your spouse, or there are complex family ties to untangle - the divorce could take up to a year, sometimes longer, to conclude.

Either way it will be a matter of months, not weeks.

Can we get divorced without going to court?

It really depends on the circumstances. If you and your spouse manage to agree the terms of separation then you’re unlikely to have to go to a court hearing and give evidence. But if there are complications, and the process of mediation doesn’t lead to a successful conclusion, the court will step in and sort out the details of your settlement.

Court is a last resort, and we do everything we can so that things don’t come to that.

How much will I get from my ex?

This depends on so many factors, including each party’s:

  • income, assets and earning capacity
  • financial needs and responsibilities
  • standard of living
  • contribution to the family

Behaviour will be taken into account in some, but not all, cases.

And remember that you might have to pay some money,  relinquish some property or assets, or make some other concessions as part of the settlement, too. It’s give and take. Our job is to get you the best possible deal.

At Crisp & Co we specialise in helping clients get through difficult times. Our team of divorce and finance solicitors are here to listen, to explain and to help you move towards a secure future.

Call us on 0203 857 9885, or get in touch via our simple enquiry form. We’d love to help.

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