Will I need to go to Court to get a divorce?
The breakdown of a marriage can be a difficult and stressful time for separating couples and the thought of going to Court to deal with their divorce can be a daunting prospect. Whilst some couples do end up litigating their case within the Court arena, this is not the case for the majority of couples, who instead finalise their divorce without the need to ever attend Court.
Unless either party is defending the Divorce Petition or there is an issue surrounding the payment of costs, you will not need to attend Court as part of your divorce proceedings. Instead, the Court deals with the case “on paper” and process is commenced and finalised by the lodging of certain paperwork, which is then consider by a judge without the need to see either of you.
Arrangements for the children
If you can reach an amicable agreement with your spouse in relation to the future arrangements for your children (i.e. where they will live and how often they will see each of you) you will not need to attend Court and you can either have a verbal agreement or a written Parenting Agreement setting out the arrangements. You will only need to attend Court if there is a dispute between you and you need a judge to make an order setting out the future arrangements.
An application to Court is often viewed as a “mechanism of last resort” and will only be issued if there is a dispute between you in relation to the division of your martial assets, income and liabilities. Where you can reach an agreement through discussions, negotiations or mediation, this agreement can be recorded into a Consent Order which is then lodged at Court for approval by a judge. Like with divorce proceedings, if the judge is happy with the paperwork submitted and believes the agreement is fair to all parties, it will be sealed without the need for any Court attendance. The only exception to this is where the judge has a query about the fairness of the agreement reached, and may wish to see both parties before deciding whether to seal the Consent Order. In these limited cases, a short 10 to 15 minute hearing is listed and both parties simply need to attend Court to tell the judge why they are happy with the agreement.
How we can help you
Here at Machins LLP and Sumner and Tabor, we have a team of expert family lawyers who can advise and assist you throughout the divorce process and can help you to try and reach an amicable agreement in relation to ancillary issues pertaining to children or financial matters that may arise from your divorce.
We offer initial fixed fee appointments to allow you discuss different aspects of your divorce and separation, as well as a fortnightly family law clinic. If you would like further information of the services we offer, please visit the Family Law page on our website which can be found at www.machins.co.uk/individual-services/family-law.