Help & Advice by Paul Dodds Law
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The best way to resolve any Family Law dispute is by discussion, compromise and agreement.  Where that is not possible you may find yourself having to take proceedings against your former partner or to defend proceedings brought against you by your former partner.  In those circumstances it is sometimes difficult to keep in clear sight the effect that contested proceedings can have on the liability to pay increased Solicitors fees.

  •  We always look for a way to negotiate a sensible outcome for you without having to go to Court.
  • We speak plain English
  • We do the simple things well
  • We can help you complete the Divorce application form (called the Petition)

The divorce application form ‘The Petition’ and other documentation including a form of Statement of Arrangements about children of the family and the Court fee are sent to Court for issue, the Court will usually post the forms  to the other party.  Upon an Acknowledgement of Service form being received at the Court from the other party confirming that they have received the Petition and they do not intend to defend the case the Petitioner can apply to the Court for the Decree Nisi, this is the name given to the first stage of the two stage decree process in divorce cases.  The Decree Nisi is usually pronounced by the Judge in Court as a deskwork exercise without either party having to appear in Court.  There must usually be at least six weeks between the date of the Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute although it is often better practice not to have the Decree Nisi made Absolute until financial issues are resolved.

The Decree Absolute of Divorce ends the marriage but does not automatically end the financial relationship still existing between former spouses.  The entitlement of a former spouse to make a financial claim can only be brought to an end by:-

  •  By remarriage of that spouse
  •  By death of that spouse
  •  By the Court making an Order including provision that arrangements are in full and final settlement of financial issues between the parties.  This is commonly called a clean break.

A clean break Order can be obtained either at the end of a contested case when the Judge decides that it is fair to impose a clean break or where parties reach an agreement and wish to agree there be a clean break as part of that agreement and invite the Judge to approve the terms they have agreed between them and ask the Court to make such an Order with the consent of both parties.

A glossary of some of the terms that you might hear if you go to court can be found by clicking here

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