Family law legal advice
Family law governs legal issues arising from domestic relationships and family life such as marriage & civil partnerships, parental responsibility, adoption, surrogacy and other such issues.
Divorce is by far the most common issue requiring legal advice within family law. The breakdown of a relationship and falling apart of a family is tragic enough by itself, which is why it is important to have laws in place to deal with it and provide protection to those who need it.
Divorce can be a complicated procedure, it’s important to seek expert legal advice as early on in the process as possible to try and limit the damage caused and ensure that the split happens as smoothly and fairly as possible.
To get a divorce in the UK courts must be satisfied that the relationship has broken down irretrievably, evidence of at least one of the following conditions must be provided:
- Continued unreasonable behaviour
- At least two years of desertion
- At least two years of separation (five years if the divorce is contested)
Unreasonable behaviour can constitute any number of things; obtaining legal advice from a professional will ensure that you take the best course of action in applying for divorce and are able to satisfy the conditions outlined in the law.
A number of agreements will have to be reached before a divorce is finalised, concerning the division of property and most importantly the welfare and custody of any children who are involved. Separating couples are encouraged to make these decisions as amicably as possible, seeking legal advice from a family law specialist will help you to know what help is available and how to make use of processes such as mediation, which are designed to bring disputes to a quick and satisfactory close, causing as little damage to the ongoing relationship as possible.
The process of divorce in the UK is divided into seven sections and will usually take several months to complete. Having the right legal advice throughout will ensure that everything runs smoothly and as little suffering as possible is caused to both sides. The stages of divorce are:
Filing a Petition – This is the first request for a divorce which must include all reasons and evidence for the divorce as well as arrangements for any children under 16.
Servicing the Petition – Once they are satisfied that petition fulfils all legal requirements it will be formally issued.
Acknowledgement – An acknowledgement of services form must be returned within seven days, or an ‘answer’ returned within 28 days if either side wishes to dispute the divorce proceedings
Confirmation – Both partners must now swear and issue a written statement that all information given so far is true
Pronouncement – The court will then issue a Decree Nisi, which is a provisional order for divorce
Decree Absolute Application – six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi is issued the couple can apply for a decree absolute, which is the final confirmation of their divorce
Decree Absolute Receipt – Once this is received the couple is officially divorced.
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