This remains the most commonly used method for divorcing couples, although separating spouses are increasingly choosing the alternative methods of dispute resolution (mediation and collaborative). However, for some couples, this is the only, or most suitable, option for them to use from the beginning.
Usually this is because of a lack of awareness of the other process options, or because the alternative methods of dispute resolution (mediation and collaborative) are found to be unsuitable for specific reasons such as violence, lack of trust or inability to communicate.
The process involves the appointment of a solicitor by each party who will focus on your needs and will try to negotiate a fair settlement with your spouse/their solicitor on your behalf, with an emphasis on what would be in your best interests. The process will involve financial disclosure and our family solicitors have resolved many traditional cases without the need for Court attendance.
If an agreement cannot be reached by a divorcing couple, a judge will be asked to make a decision about what would be a fair resolution to the issues. Court proceedings are begun by making an application to the Court, which results in a timetable being set. The procedure is not as quick as either clients or lawyers would like and often couples will reach an agreement during the process to avoid the associated court costs, delay, conflict and uncertainty of the final decision. When this happens, the Court will be presented with a Consent Order (financial agreement) for approval.
If settlement cannot be achieved, a final hearing will be necessary where each party will be asked questions and depending on the answers given by you and your spouse, a Judge will make a binding decision which will be imposed on the couple and will be based on what he or she considers to be fair.
If you would like to talk about any of these issues with one of our specialist team, please contact us on 01732 747900. Whilst we are based in Sevenoaks, Kent we are also happy to offer advice by phone/email or, can meet with you in our Tonbridge office if it is more convenient for you.
- First meeting with your divorce lawyer Before meeting your divorce lawyer for the first time, you may be anxious about what to expect. Charles Tennant, family law solicitor and divorce law specialist at Warners in Sevenoaks, explains what will happen at the first meeting and some of the information you may want to take with you.
- Did you get divorced before 2000 and receive a pension award? An unintended consequence of the pension reforms is that any divorcee with a pension earmarking order (regularly used before pension sharing came into force in 2000) may need to act fast to protect their retirement benefits...