New Year - New Start

Posted 18th January 2016

Written by Emma Hartley

Are you and your spouse or civil partner drifting apart and agreed to make this Christmas the last?  You are not alone.  January is the most popular time for people to commence divorces.

There are two ways to legally end a marriage.  You can either apply for a divorce which will give you a decree absolute ending a valid marriage or apply for a decree of nullity which declares that the marriage itself is void.  To end a civil partnership you can apply for dissolution which will give you a final order ending the civil partnership.

Divorce

To apply for a divorce you must have been married for at least a year.  For an immediate divorce there are only two facts available which are unreasonable behaviour and adultery.  Please be aware that adultery is not available in divorces where it was a same sex marriage.  People mistakenly believe that if these facts are used, the separation has to be acrimonious.  This is not necessarily the case.  Even by using the fact of adultery or behaviour the separation and divorce process can remain amicable so far as is possible.  There are no set types of behaviour that can be used as it varies case to case but it does need to meet certain criteria.

Alternatively you can wait a period of two years and issue on the fact of separation with your spouse’s consent.  If your spouse does not provide consent you would need to use five years separation where their consent will not be required.  If using the fact of separation it would be recommended to have a Separation Agreement drawn up so that there is a clear intention as to how finances are to be dealt with during the period of separation.

Dissolution

To apply for a dissolution you must have entered the civil partnership over a year ago.  Unlike a divorce, adultery is not available for dissolution.  For an immediate dissolution you only have the option of unreasonable behaviour or alternatively can wait for a period of two years and base on the fact of separation.  Again, it would be recommended to have a Separation Agreement in place if you wish to use the fact of separation.

If you wish to discuss these or any other family law issues, please contact Emma Hartley of Newtons Family Team on 0800 038 5500 or 01904 409078 who will be happy to assist.