GUIDE TO FAMILY ISSUES INCLUDING OBTAINING

A DIVORCE OR SEPARATION

A R SOLICITORS Property Specialists... Solicitors Established 1954 AUSTIN RYDER & CO Property Specialists... SOLICITORS

AUSTIN RYDER GUIDE TO FAMILY ISSUES INCLUDING OBTAINING A DIVORCE OR SEPERATION

Very often the prospect of obtaining a divorce or separation can be a daunting experience. This is

especially so perhaps when emotions are running high and the future appears uncertain. It is at such a

time that we would seek to provide much needed support and advice in a sympathetic and

understanding manner.

Certainly we at Austin Ryder & Co have many years of experience of dealing with matrimonial and

family issues and we are aware of the difficulties and potential legal pitfalls that can arise which we will

guide you through.    

At the first appointment we will seek to not only explain the options available to you including the

divorce process itself if applicable but also provide you with a clear picture of the practical issues

associated with your situation and more especially the financial and property position and the

arrangements for looking after and caring for any children of the family.   

In the case of a divorce once proceedings are underway we will constantly keep you informed of any

developments and advise you in relation to the time scale. Throughout the process we will send you

copies of any significant letters that are received relating to the divorce and provide you with regular up-

dates not only on the progress of the case but any related issues.    

Furthermore, if there is any question of you or any of children being at risk from domestic abuse we will

make it a priority to discuss with you all possible ways of keeping you and your family safe and secure.

The Information that we will require In order to obtain a thorough and complete understanding of your personal circumstances we will ask you for various details, information and documents.  In particular we will ask you Why you want a divorce or separation; Whether or not you are living apart from your husband or wife and if so when you separated; The names and ages of any children who are part of the family; The current and future proposed living arrangements for you and the children; The present contact arrangements between the parents and the children if living apart; Details of your financial assets, savings, income and pensions in respect of you and your spouse.  In particular we will ask you to provide an estimate of the value of any property that you own and details of any outstanding mortgages or charges secured against it; details of any domestic abuse that may have taken place. I n the case of a divorce we will in particular need your marriage certificate and certain other relevant documents including those relating to your financial circumstances.  Such information will help us to decide what grounds there may be for a divorce and what options might be available to you in terms of re-housing, accommodation and any future living arrangements for yourself and the children.     At all times we will keep you fully informed as to how our costs, disbursements and any court fees are likely to be incurred. Grounds for a divorce In order for there to be a divorce one has to show that the marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’.   In order to demonstrate this you must show one of the following reasons: Your husband or wife has committed adultery; Your husband or wife’s behaviour is such that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them; Your husband or wife left you at least 2 years ago without good reason; You have been separated from your husband or wife for at least 2 years and they agree to a divorce; You have been separated from your husband or wife for at least 5 years.    We will of course discuss these potential grounds with you and decide which is the most appropriate in your particular circumstances. If however a divorce  is against your religion or there are other reasons why you should not pursue a divorce then we can advise you about other forms of separation.   The legal terms used in a divorce In court and in legal documents the person applying for the divorce is known as the ‘Petitioner’ and the person they are divorcing is the ‘Respondent’.  If in the course of the proceedings you wish to make an application to the court in relation to financial or property matters then this person is called the ‘Applicant’ and the other party is called the ‘Respondent’. The divorce process and procedure We will usually start the process by writing a letter to your husband or wife to inform them that we have been instructed to act on your behalf and explaining that you are intending to commence divorce proceedings. In particular such a letter will also recommend that they seek independent legal advice if they have not already done so. Thereafter and often after having established contact with your husband or wife and / or their solicitors we will draft the divorce petition which provides the court with all relevant information relating to your marriage and the grounds on which you are pursuing a divorce. We will go through this important document with you and once you have approved it the divorce petition together with other documents that we will need to prepare it will need to be sent to the court for issue. In particular the petition also sets out whether you will be asking your husband or wife to pay for the costs of the divorce or to provide some other form of financial support for you and any children. The court will send a copy of the petition to your husband or wife and they will be asked to file with the court an acknowledgement of service of the petition and provide certain information. Where your husband or wife has instructed solicitors very often those solicitors will deal with the acknowledgement of service. Once your husband or wife or their solicitor has replied to the petition in the form of an acknowledgement of service you will need to confirm your intention to proceed with the divorce application by making a sworn statement known as an ‘affidavit’. Your application and the affidavit is then lodged with the Court. If your husband or wife does not reply or cannot be found then we will tell you the methods for overcoming this problem.    Once the court is satisfied that you should have a divorce it sets out a date and time for the Judge to pronounce what is known as a decree nisi of divorce. Neither you nor your solicitor needs to go to court for this purpose as it is simply a statement from the court that the divorce can go ahead and that the divorce papers are approved.  However, at this stage you are not actually divorced. If at this point you and your husband or wife have not agreed who should pay the legal costs of the divorce the Judge pronouncing the decree nisi will decide for you. Six weeks after the decree nisi has been granted the person applying for the divorce can have the divorce made final and absolute. This legally dissolves the marriage. However, it is usually better to wait until financial matters known as ancillary relief have been resolved before finalizing your divorce in this way.     Very often the divorce process itself is relatively straight forward. The difficulty and usually most contentious aspects of the matter generally relate to financial matters particularly relating to any matrimonial property and the future arrangements for looking after and caring for and having contact with the children of the family.    Where possible we will always endeavour to agree such disputes with your husband or wife through their solicitors or with them direct if at all possible.  It is invariably in the interests of both you and your husband or wife to try and achieve this. We will carefully explain to you the alternatives to court proceedings such as mediation.    This usually involves attending a meeting to find out if you are suitable to go through the mediation process before you apply for a court order.  Mediation is where you and your husband or wife try to work with someone who is trained to help people sort out disagreements between themselves. We will advise you in relation to this and if necessary help to arrange a meeting and continue to advise you throughout the process.    In the course of dealing with financial matters it is essential that both you and your husband or wife provide the solicitors with full details of your respective incomes, outgoings and assets. Both parties are obliged to make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances to the other party in order to try and achieve a financial settlement. Only if the negotiations fail would we advise you to make an application to the court to settle matters. Even then the court will do all it can to encourage you to negotiate an agreement between you both but failing this then a judge will make the decision. At some point in the process a judge will issue a court order to make their decision official but very often this can be achieved through negotiations and result in a consent order. If when you first consult us divorce proceedings are already under way we will advise you to take such steps as may be appropriate to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. This may include advising you to seek a court order which will set out the terms of any agreement that has been reached between you and your husband or wife in such a way that it is legally enforceable. If however, you have not commenced divorce proceedings then we can also advise you in relation to making a separation agreement.      Children In all matters relating to children their welfare comes before anything else. We will emphasise how it is in the best interests of the children that you and your husband or wife or partner should endeavour to agree matters between you and to co-operate with each other. We will advise you against the dangers of encouraging children to take sides and to assist you in explaining to your children about the separation or divorce and how it will affect them. We will always make you aware of alternatives to court proceedings such as mediation and will explain that court action as a way of settling disagreements is very much a last resort.     Austin Ryder & Co are experienced family law solicitors and we believe that we have the knowledge and experience to represent your best interests and those of your children and to achieve a satisfactory outcome at such a difficult and stressful time. We endeavour to be approachable and sympathetic to your needs. If you require any advice or further information concerning a matrimonial or family issue then please do not hesitate to contact us by calling into one of our offices, telephoning us or sending us an email.  We will be only too pleased to try and help you.   

Austin Ryder and Co is there to help you. 

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GUIDE TO FAMILY ISSUES

INCLUDING OBTAINING A

DIVORCE OR SEPARATION

Solicitors Established 1954 AUSTIN RYDER & CO A R Property Specialists... Tel: 020 8804 5111 SOLICITORS
The Information that we will require In order to obtain a thorough and complete understanding of your personal circumstances we will ask you for various details, information and documents.  In particular we will ask you Why you want a divorce or separation; Whether or not you are living apart from your husband or wife and if so when you separated; The names and ages of any children who are part of the family; The current and future proposed living arrangements for you and the children; The present contact arrangements between the parents and the children if living apart; Details of your financial assets, savings, income and pensions in respect of you and your spouse.  In particular we will ask you to provide an estimate of the value of any property that you own and details of any outstanding mortgages or charges secured against it; details of any domestic abuse that may have taken place. n the case of a divorce we will in particular need your marriage certificate and certain other relevant documents including those relating to your financial circumstances.  Such information will help us to decide what grounds there may be for a divorce and what options might be available to you in terms of re- housing, accommodation and any future living arrangements for yourself and the children.     At all times we will keep you fully informed as to how our costs, disbursements and any court fees are likely to be incurred. Grounds for a divorce In order for there to be a divorce one has to show that the marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’.   In order to demonstrate this you must show one of the following reasons: Your husband or wife has committed adultery; Your husband or wife’s behaviour is such that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them; Your husband or wife left you at least 2 years ago without good reason; You have been separated from your husband or wife for at least 2 years and they agree to a divorce; You have been separated from your husband or wife for at least 5 years.    We will of course discuss these potential grounds with you and decide which is the most appropriate in your particular circumstances. If however a divorce  is against your religion or there are other reasons why you should not pursue a divorce then we can advise you about other forms of separation.   The legal terms used in a divorce In court and in legal documents the person applying for the divorce is known as the ‘Petitioner’ and the person they are divorcing is the ‘Respondent’.  If in the course of the proceedings you wish to make an application to the court in relation to financial or property matters then this person is called the ‘Applicant’ and the other party is called the ‘Respondent’. The divorce process and procedure We will usually start the process by writing a letter to your husband or wife to inform them that we have been instructed to act on your behalf and explaining that you are intending to commence divorce proceedings. In particular such a letter will also recommend that they seek independent legal advice if they have not already done so. Thereafter and often after having established contact with your husband or wife and / or their solicitors we will draft the divorce petition which provides the court with all relevant information relating to your marriage and the grounds on which you are pursuing a divorce. We will go through this important document with you and once you have approved it the divorce petition together with other documents that we will need to prepare it will need to be sent to the court for issue. In particular the petition also sets out whether you will be asking your husband or wife to pay for the costs of the divorce or to provide some other form of financial support for you and any children. The court will send a copy of the petition to your husband or wife and they will be asked to file with the court an acknowledgement of service of the petition and provide certain information. Where your husband or wife has instructed solicitors very often those solicitors will deal with the acknowledgement of service. Once your husband or wife or their solicitor has replied to the petition in the form of an acknowledgement of service you will need to confirm your intention to proceed with the divorce application by making a sworn statement known as an ‘affidavit’. Your application and the affidavit is then lodged with the Court. If your husband or wife does not reply or cannot be found then we will tell you the methods for overcoming this problem.    Once the court is satisfied that you should have a divorce it sets out a date and time for the Judge to pronounce what is known as a decree nisi of divorce. Neither you nor your solicitor needs to go to court for this purpose as it is simply a statement from the court that the divorce can go ahead and that the divorce papers are approved.  However, at this stage you are not actually divorced. If at this point you and your husband or wife have not agreed who should pay the legal costs of the divorce the Judge pronouncing the decree nisi will decide for you. Six weeks after the decree nisi has been granted the person applying for the divorce can have the divorce made final and absolute. This legally dissolves the marriage. However, it is usually better to wait until financial matters known as ancillary relief have been resolved before finalizing your divorce in this way.     Very often the divorce process itself is relatively straight forward. The difficulty and usually most contentious aspects of the matter generally relate to financial matters particularly relating to any matrimonial property and the future arrangements for looking after and caring for and having contact with the children of the family.    Where possible we will always endeavour to agree such disputes with your husband or wife through their solicitors or with them direct if at all possible.  It is invariably in the interests of both you and your husband or wife to try and achieve this. We will carefully explain to you the alternatives to court proceedings such as mediation.    This usually involves attending a meeting to find out if you are suitable to go through the mediation process before you apply for a court order.  Mediation is where you and your husband or wife try to work with someone who is trained to help people sort out disagreements between themselves. We will advise you in relation to this and if necessary help to arrange a meeting and continue to advise you throughout the process.    In the course of dealing with financial matters it is essential that both you and your husband or wife provide the solicitors with full details of your respective incomes, outgoings and assets. Both parties are obliged to make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances to the other party in order to try and achieve a financial settlement. Only if the negotiations fail would we advise you to make an application to the court to settle matters. Even then the court will do all it can to encourage you to negotiate an agreement between you both but failing this then a judge will make the decision. At some point in the process a judge will issue a court order to make their decision official but very often this can be achieved through negotiations and result in a consent order. If when you first consult us divorce proceedings are already under way we will advise you to take such steps as may be appropriate to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. This may include advising you to seek a court order which will set out the terms of any agreement that has been reached between you and your husband or wife in such a way that it is legally enforceable. If however, you have not commenced divorce proceedings then we can also advise you in relation to making a separation agreement.      Children In all matters relating to children their welfare comes before anything else. We will emphasise how it is in the best interests of the children that you and your husband or wife or partner should endeavour to agree matters between you and to co-operate with each other. We will advise you against the dangers of encouraging children to take sides and to assist you in explaining to your children about the separation or divorce and how it will affect them. We will always make you aware of alternatives to court proceedings such as mediation and will explain that court action as a way of settling disagreements is very much a last resort.     Austin Ryder & Co are experienced family law solicitors and we believe that we have the knowledge and experience to represent your best interests and those of your children and to achieve a satisfactory outcome at such a difficult and stressful time. We endeavour to be approachable and sympathetic to your needs. If you require any advice or further information concerning a matrimonial or family issue then please do not hesitate to contact us by calling into one of our offices, telephoning us or sending us an email.  We will be only too pleased to try and help you. 

Austin Ryder and Co is there to help you. 

AUSTIN RYDER GUIDE TO FAMILY ISSUES INCLUDING OBTAINING A

DIVORCE OR SEPERATION

Very often the prospect of obtaining a divorce or separation can be a

daunting experience. This is especially so perhaps when emotions are

running high and the future appears uncertain. It is at such a time that we

would seek to provide much needed support and advice in a sympathetic

and understanding manner.

Certainly we at Austin Ryder & Co have many years of experience of

dealing with matrimonial and family issues and we are aware of the

difficulties and potential legal pitfalls that can arise which we will guide

you through.    

At the first appointment we will seek to not only explain the options

available to you including the divorce process itself if applicable but also

provide you with a clear picture of the practical issues associated with

your situation and more especially the financial and property position and

the arrangements for looking after and caring for any children of the

family.   

In the case of a divorce once proceedings are underway we will constantly

keep you informed of any developments and advise you in relation to the

time scale. Throughout the process we will send you copies of any

significant letters that are received relating to the divorce and provide you

with regular up-dates not only on the progress of the case but any related

issues.    

Furthermore, if there is any question of you or any of children being at

risk from domestic abuse we will make it a priority to discuss with you all

possible ways of keeping you and your family safe and secure.

Austin Ryder © 2009-2014 - authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA website www.sra.org.uk    European Commission platform for Consumer Disputes http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/  -  Vat No 232782366 - Partners List available at the Head Office