Friday, 11 June 2010

Don't believe the myth!

Shropshire couples are being warned there’s no such thing as a “quickie” divorce.

Rebecca Littleford, from our Family Team, said with domestic violence predicted to increase during the World Cup, more and more couples may face marital difficulties.

“We’ve all heard the stories about celebrities wanting their marriage over quickly when it falls apart – and the latest couple in the news, Cheryl and Ashley Cole, appear to be no different. But although you can start divorce proceedings immediately if it’s based on the other person’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour, the divorce process itself actually takes months.”

Rebecca said the divorce could be speeded up if the couple were prepared to take a non-confrontational approach.

“This would mean both sides working together on the draft divorce petition so that the finer details, including arrangements for any children in the family, would be agreed before it goes to the courts. If you can agree this kind of detail in advance, the case will proceed more smoothly and hopefully more quickly. If either side starts to contest the petition, it will take longer and of course the costs of the divorce will grow.”

Once the petition has been filed with the courts, your spouse has the opportunity to decide if they want to fight the divorce – and it’s only after they agree not to fight it, that you can apply for a Decree Nisi. "This is not a divorce, it’s just an indication from the courts that they agree in principle with the action,” said Rebecca.

“In fact, apart from in some highly unusual cases, six weeks and a day must pass between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute. It’s only once the Decree Absolute has been issued that the couple will actually be divorced.

“Clearly divorce is a dramatic step, and a truly life-changing event, and even if things do get heated over the next few weeks during the World Cup, it’s important not to make any hasty decisions. Statistics show that domestic violence levels do increase during the tournament, particularly if alcohol is involved.

“But take time out and diffuse the situation – walk away from arguments which threaten to escalate, and really consider whether things have broken down irretrievably before you start divorce proceedings.”