Legal advice

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This article was written by Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors

If you are thinking about getting divorced or separating from your partner, you may want to start thinking about legal advice to ensure you make the right decisions and know what your rights are. If your marriage or partnership is ending, you may need to sort out things like childcare, money, property and housing.You can find advice about what you need to do if you are ending your marriage from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Changes to the law about divorce

On 6 April 2022, the laws about divorce are changing. The Citizens Advice Bureau has some helpful information on this.

Under the new changes, you will not need to give a reason or have grounds to get divorced. The new changes will:

  • removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse
  • allowing couples to end their marriage jointly

Please note that it will take at least 6 months to get divorced under these new changes.

How a divorce laywer can help you?

There are set steps to follow when getting a divorce, and whilst you can attempt to manage the process yourself, it’s usually best to contact a specialist divorce lawyer, especially if there are children involved or complications such as your partner not agreeing to the divorce.

Simpson Millar have provided this brief outline of the things you need to consider when thinking about divorce or separation.

What is the divorce process?

  • Divorce Petition - The first step is the initial petition for divorce which you fill in to begin the divorce process. This is where you must state your reasons for wanting a divorce, and Simpson Millar's Divorce Lawyers can help you to word this in the best way for a judge to agree that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • 'Serving' the Divorce Petition - Next you have to ‘serve’ the petition; this is usually done by post and your husband or wife has 8 days to acknowledge receipt. If they don’t, you may need to get court officials involved. Again, our Divorce Lawyers can take care of this for you.
  • Contesting the Divorce - Your partner may contest the divorce, in which case you may have to remain married but living separately for 5 years until you can divorce without your spouse’s agreement. During this time you’ll probably need to resolve any financial issues and legal advice may help.
  • Children - If you have children then getting divorced gets more complicated. The court must agree with the arrangements you make for your children, such as which parent they’ll live with and how much contact they’ll have with the other parent. Custody of and contact with children following a divorce can cause bitter arguments, and the court will decide what is best for your children. So having a specialist divorce lawyer on your side can be vital if child custody will be an issue.
  • Financial Issues - In most cases there will be financial issues to sort out – how will you divide up your property and finances? It’s not automatic that things get divided 50/50 and if you do go to court to get divorced the judge will decide who gets what, especially if there are children involved. Simpson Millar Divorce Lawyers can negotiate on your behalf.

Child Contact – Common Access Issues

Working out how often you can have contact with your children – or are willing to allow your ex partner contact and whether unsupervised visits and/or overnight stays can be agreed upon can be difficult. The most important thing is to do what is best for your children.

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