Do you need a family lawyer to get divorced in the UK?
If you are currently seeking a divorce in the UK, you may be questioning whether you need a divorce legal adviser, given the recent changes in the law concerning the process of a divorce.
Although there is no legal requirement for you to have a legal adviser to help you, there are many benefits to having a legal adviser who will be able to offer legal advice at every stage and to answer any questions that may arise for you throughout the process.
Let’s take a closer look at possible benefits of divorcing with a family law adviser on your side.
Considerations for children
Too often cases go to court because one or both parents have unrealistic expectations about the arrangements for their children. When the arrangements for your children are of central importance, it is essential to have sound legal advice on how to resolve any disputes that arise and for guidance on what factors the courts consider when deciding the arrangements to be made. With proper legal advice, it is more likely that you will be able to resolve any disputed matters between yourselves and avoid a mandate being issued by the court.
A family lawyer is familiar with court approved arrangements and can help in the creation of an acceptable arrangement without requiring a court appearance. A good family lawyer can also advise on how to negotiate arrangements that may meet the needs of your children as far as possible.
There are many challenges when it comes to dealing with the financial aspect of any divorce settlement. Well informed legal advice is essential to help both parties understand what they need to consider in order to secure the proper financial entitlement for themselves and their children.
Even in relatively straightforward cases, and where there are no dependent children involved, a family law adviser is recommended to ensure that all possible claims are dealt with at the time of the divorce so that there are no unexpected claims that may arise at a later stage in your life, creating further distress and costs.
A family legal adviser will be looking to obtain the best settlement for you, consider all of the available options, and ensure the financial settlement meets your best interests as far as is possible.
In particular, legal advice is essential if the disputed assets are of a significant value or if the other party is in a much stronger financial position, and also where there is little or no communication between yourself and your former partner. Informed legal advice is essential to ensure that your interests are properly protected.
Hiring a family divorce specialist will allow someone with expertise to handle the paperwork and negotiations while representing, advising, and preventing future complications for you.
For your information, a brief and simplified summary of the process of divorce is as follows:
- A divorce is commenced by either a sole application being made by one party, or a joint application by both parties. The application for divorce can be completed online or through the post. Applications by post are made using a form D8.
- Once submitted, the divorce application is processed by the court and confirmation of this is sent to the other party or both parties if a joint application has been made. The next stage is for the other party to complete a form known as an “acknowledgement of service”. This form is to acknowledge receipt of the divorce form sent by the court and to confirm that the divorce can proceed. There are now very limited grounds for “defending” a divorce and you would need to seek advice from a family legal adviser if you wanted to argue this.
- Once the court has received the Acknowledgment of Service, the court will notify the applicant. 20 weeks after the divorce application has been issued, an application can be made to court for the first stage of the divorce known as the conditional order. At this point, the court will consider the application and if all is in order will grant the conditional order. This stage was formerly known as the decree nisi.
- Where the parties have reached a financial agreement and want to make the financial agreements made between them legally binding, at this stage either of the divorcing parties may apply to the court for an order to be granted. The agreement must be drafted in the form of an order and is sent to court with forms completed by both parties to confirm details about the marriage and their financial positions. These forms contain the information that will enable the judge to consider if the terms of the agreement appear fair to the parties in all the circumstances. If approved, the order will be sealed by the judge which will make it legally binding.
- The document which declares the end of the marriage is called the final order and may be applied for 6 weeks and one day after the date of the conditional order. This stage was formerly known as the Decree Absolute.
While these 5 steps seem simple enough, there are many problems that can arise if the forms are not completed correctly and, in all cases, the divorce process can be extremely time consuming, stressful, and confusing. Any mistakes that are made can delay the process and incur legal costs.
When should you use a family law solicitor?
A specialist in family law is familiar with the processes and the legal principles to avoid future problems arising. A legal specialist can also consider solutions to prevent difficulties arising, and to help facilitate negotiations. It is particularly important to have a legal specialist to advise you where there are children involved, to ensure that all resolutions are carefully considered.
Find Peace of Mind at Parfitt Cresswell
The legal professionals at Parfitt Cresswell are motivated by your best interests to help you find the best possible solutions to your individual situation. Divorce can be very stressful and fraught with emotional difficulties. The legal professionals at Parfitt Cresswell can assist you during this difficult time by supporting and guiding you into the next chapter of your life.
With 9 offices across the South-East of England, it is likely that Parfitt Cresswell has an office near your home. We also offer a free half hour consultation to every potential client to help you on your way and so recommend that you contact the legal professionals at Parfitt Cresswell today.
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