Divorce — when souls diverge
Family Law – Divorce
Despite what you will hear from various doom mongers about the imminent collapse of our society and the fact that everyone is getting divorced and there will soon be packs of feral children picking through our bins, the divorce rate in the UK has actually been falling in recent years.
Divorce is the legal term for the formal dissolution of a marriage and the cancelling of the legal obligations that a couple have towards each other under the bonds of matrimony. The main problem with divorce is that it is a relatively simple procedure to initiate but one that is incredibly emotive for the parties involved.
After committing to building a life with another person even the most saintly of us can become possessive and snarling, hurling insults and laying claim to everything. It is always worth employing the services of a solicitor to provide a level of objectivity and experience of such matters.
The reason why divorce in the UK is a relatively simple concept is because there is only one ground for divorcing your partner: the marriage must have irretrievably broken down. To prove this complete breakdown in marital relations, one spouse must give written evidence of one of the following:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion for a period of at least two years
- Separation for a period of at least two years
- Separation of a period of at least five years
Most divorces involve claims of the first two listed reasons.
In the UK the marriage must have lasted for at least a year and be recognised by UK law.
The actual process of getting a divorce involves various forms, petition sand other legal documentation being exchanged and sent to court over a number of months. The process ends with the granting of the Decree Absolute and the formal dissolution of the marriage.
For a lot of couples going through a divorce the most fractious and difficult part of the process is coming to an arrangement regarding any children that are involved. The most obvious sticking points are going to revolve around where the children are going to live and how much contact each parent is going to have. It is a sad fact that one parent will get to see more of the children than the other one, and this can mean that the grievance often gets taken back to court or to some form of mediation setting.
A special mention should go to the growing area of alternative dispute resolution, which is helping people to avoid the more destructive aspects of going through the divorce process. Collaborative family law is designed to help families get through the divorce process without having to go through the courts, which tends to be less expensive and less adversarial. This approach is very good for creating open and honest dialogue between the divorcing couple. Mediation on the other hand is where a negotiator is hired to help the family as a group come to an amiable decision on their future. Mediation can also be cheaper, faster and less harmful then going through the courts.
Divorce is never going to be painless, but there are ways to minimise the destruction it can do to important relationships in a person’s, or their children’s lives.