What are the alternatives to divorce?
If you’re having marital problems and want to do something about it but you’re not sure if divorce is right for you do not fear: there are a number of legal alternatives. This article gives a quick summary of divorce and the alternatives to give you an idea what’s out there. If you want to know how each one applies to your own specific situation and could help you more forward in your life then give us a call on 0800 222 9500 and make an appointment to speak with an expert solicitor for some advice tailored to your personal situation.
Divorce is very common in this day and age with over 100,000 taking place each year in England and Wales. Most people will have direct experience of it themselves or through a friend or loved one.
A divorce is the legal process which ends a marriage. It is largely an administrative exercise and the need to actually attend court is very rare. After the final decree, called Decree Absolute, is pronounced by the Court the couple are no longer married.
A divorce can only be applied for once the couple have been married for one year. Either one of the couple can apply for a range of financial orders to ensure they are provided for after the marriage has ended. A solicitor will be able to advise you on what orders you could apply for and what kind of financial settlement you would be likely to receive.
If you are in a civil partnership then the equivalent to a divorce is a dissolution. A family law solicitor will be able to advise on to how go about dissolution proceedings.
Most people are aware of pre-nuptial agreement (or ‘pre-nups’) but few are aware of a post-nuptial agreement. They’re not just for the rich and famous. In fact, they’re even more important for the normal man on the street. If you have fewer assets it becomes even more important to protect them. And that’s where post-nuptial agreements come in.
If you are having marital problems, or think you might experience them in the future, or just want to make sure you are provided for in the event of a split, a solicitor can draft a post-nuptial agreement on your behalf to give effect to your wishes relating to finances or children.
A post-nuptial agreement is not a precursor to divorce and many of our clients have agreements which they re-draft again and again throughout their lives because feeling financially secure should the worst happen makes them for comfortable in their relationship.
A separation agreement is for couples who are separating on a long or short-term basis. It sets out the obligations they have towards one another but does not end the marriage. It gives a high degree of flexibility in that virtually anything can be included in the agreement. If the couple wish to resume their relationship at a later date the agreement simply falls by the wayside after an agreed period, e.g. six weeks’ cohabitation. Or if they decide to divorce the agreement can be used as the basis for a financial order.
Judicial Separation is very similar to divorce except in one key aspect: it DOES NOT end the marriage. The parties receive a decree of judicial separation from the Court and can apply for financial support from one another as if they were divorcing but legally the marriage continues.
Judicial Separation is particularly appropriate for those who cannot divorce for religious reasons.
Annulment is available at any time after a marriage has taken place. Unlike divorce there is no requirement to wait for a year to pass before taking action. Annulment is available in a very specific set of circumstances so you should consult a solicitor if you think they may apply to you. Click here to find out more information: Grayfords | Annulments
If you are considering divorce or any of the options above and want to know more, please telephone us on 0800 222 9500 or use the form on our Contact Us page to get in touch. An expert solicitor will be able to advise you on your options and what your rights are in relation to finances, property and children.