Private Client Services
Divorce and separation
When a marriage breaks down, it is normally advisable to legally end the marriage through divorce proceedings. Although ‘no fault divorce’ is soon to be introduced, currently a person wishing to divorce must still establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by citing one of the five facts for divorce:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years’ separation with consent of the other party
- 5 years’ separation without consent
- 2 years’ desertion
The process for obtaining a divorce is administrated by the Family Court. However, unless the divorce is defended, the process is a paper exercise, not requiring the parties to actually attend Court. Undefended divorces are currently taking about seven months from Petition to Decree Absolute.
An alternative for those not ready for divorce, is the drawing up of a Deed of Separation which is able to resolve financial issues and those relating to children in an amicable cost-effective way. However, it is important to know that in any subsequent divorce proceedings the Court will not be strictly bound by the terms of any Deed of Separation. The Court would need to ensure that the needs of the children or parties are met and that the ultimate outcome at that time is fair. However, the Court will take into account the terms of any Deed of Separation.