Over 30,000 marriages end in divorce every year. The same applies to cohabitation arrangements. This is a sad fact of life that no lawyer can alter. Although divorce invariably has a dramatic impact on both parties concerned, it also marks the start of a new life. If the divorcees are to be able to make a fresh start on a clean slate, their previous relationship must be terminated in a sound and professional manner. After all, there’s no clean slate without a clean break.
There are various ways in which a husband and wife or cohabitees can end their relationship. These include:
- divorce mediation
- collaborative divorce
- unilateral procedure
- joint petition
See the section on divorce and mediation for further information.
See the section on collaborative divorce for further information.
If you decide that you wish to end your marriage or cohabitation arrangement, we would advise you to engage a lawyer to represent you throughout the procedure and liaise with your partner’s lawyer. The first step in any divorce proceedings is the submission of a divorce petition to the court. Your partner is given an opportunity to respond to this petition in the form of a ‘statement of defence’. The court will then fix a date for a hearing, at which each of you will be invited to explain how you are planning to deal with the consequences of your divorce. Finally, the court pronounces the divorce by issuing a divorce decree, although this does not formally take effect until it has been recorded in the Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships.
If you and your partner are still on good terms, you may wish to submit a joint divorce petition. In this case, the lawyer represents the two of you and drafts a divorce agreement in close consultation with both of you. This agreement, or ‘covenant’, sets out the effects of the divorce. Where the partners submit a joint petition, there is no need to appear in court as the entire proceedings are conducted in writing. The court issues a divorce decree describing how the consequences of the divorce are to be settled. Again, the divorce does not formally take effect until it has been recorded in the Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships.
Which approach you wish to adopt depends on your own personal preference and situation. Whatever you decide, though, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands when you engage our experienced and specialised family lawyers.
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