Many people are perplexed about the divorce process. It is normal to be stressed at the end of a relationship and to feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. The act of divorce, to end a marriage, can be stressful, costly and long. Nonetheless there are ways in which you can minimise the stress, cost and time involved. It has to be mentioned that the road to be taken will vary significantly dependent on the situation. Here’s a guide to help you understand the options available.
The partner asking for the divorce is commonly known as the ‘petitioner’. The other partner is commonly known as the ‘respondent’. There’s additional information about terminology, grounds and procedures of divorce on their website..
The factors which may make the divorce process more complicated are..
1. There are children or money issues (e.g. A split of assets) involved.
2. The couple aren’t agreed on the settlement.
3. The case involves complicated issues (for instance money abroad or held in trust).
If you and your ex partner are agreed about everything, and there are no kids or money issues involved, then there the process is reasonably straightforward and costs would be comparatively low. Where children or money are involved then cost, time and complexity increase a bit. In most of these cases a lawyer will be able to quote a fixed cost arrangement. This may not be possible if the divorce is contested or if there are complicated issues involved.
If you want to represent yourself in court but need legal services during the course of proceedings then most family lawyers will provide advice meetings at a fixed hourly rate. Manifestly, if you fail to bring a factual matter to your lawyer’s attention then they are going to be unable to advise you on the consequences.
Reaching an Agreement
In all cases, the key to minimising stress, time and expense is to ensure you have reached agreement on matters with your ex partner before going to court. If the pair of you have not reached agreement then we would encourage you to use mediation or collaborative law to agree a settlement before you go to court. It is much cheaper, faster and simpler to agree a settlment before you go to court rather than using the court to impose a settlement.
Harney & Wells is a Brighton firm of family lawyers focusing on divorce and separation. They offer fixed price divorce fees. Their web site has advice on divorce. They will offer a free half hour consultation.