It is always a sad and testing time when a marriage or civil partnership breaks down and either party decides they no longer want it to continue. Considering this is one of the most stressful things an individual can ever go through, it can be comforting and practical to have a qualified divorce lawyer to make sense of the complex legal terminology and framework of a divorce.
Do I need one?
You can, of course, get divorced without actually needing a solicitor or the need to settle anything in court if you and your ex-partner can agree that you both defiantly want a divorce and are able to give a legitimate reason as to why. You don’t always need your partner to agree they want a divorce but you’ll save time and money if you can both agree. In these cases you will need to be able to clearly mark out specifically why you are seeking a divorce and apply via the government’s website; this involves filling in several documents and incurs a fee of £550. Assuming everything is carried out correctly, then getting a divorce legally finalised should take four to six months.
It is worth noting that in these scenarios individuals will still need to work out the contentious questions of what exactly they want to do with their shared money and property as well as how custody of the children will be split. This, of course, can lead to disputes so once again, even if both parties have agreed they want to get a divorce the final terms might need the help of lawyers to represent the interests of both parties.
If you can’t agree
In many cases, one party will not want to agree to a divorce or in some instances, there may be a dispute as to the reasons why they are going through the process. If this happens and couples are not able to consent and apply for a divorce then before going to a solicitor they can seek mediation. Mediation can help both parties reach an agreement before heading anywhere near a court, can avoid facing large legal fees and give you more say about what happens as essentially they are able to work a divorcing couple through their options and the next steps. Unlike the court, where judges will have the final say, ultimately family mediation leaves decisions up to the family.
If you really can’t agree…
If divorcing couples find themselves in a situation that can’t be resolved by mediation or if disputes involving legal fees occur then both parties should seek out solicitors and take their concerns to court. A solicitor will explain every step you face and can represent you if you don’t want to speak for yourself; often this can be an extremely intimidating experience, especially if the marriage broke down due to factors such as physical abuse or infidelity. Having a solicitor to speak to ex-partners can be crucial, if communication isn’t possible between the two parties then solicitors are able to negotiate the best possible terms on behalf of their clients. Try to talk your intentions through carefully with your ex-partner before deciding on getting legal advice; if this isn’t possible then solicitors are here to help every step of the way.