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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Outstanding legal advice is vital when you are considering a divorce solicitor in Guildford, and here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors, we will provide you with expert legal advice using our unique legal and psychological approach, combined with in depth analysis to fully understand your dispute.

As experienced divorce lawyers we can help you with any queries or questions you may have surrounding your case. Below we have listed some of the most common ones we encounter, but feel free to contact us with anything else you need clarification or help with.

What are acceptable reasons (or grounds) for a divorce?

When you apply for a divorce you will need to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down using one of the following specific reasons,

Unreasonable behaviour.
Separated for more than 2 years.
Separated for more than 5 years.

Can we legally separate but still live under the same roof?

Basically yes. To legally divorce, or dissolve a civil partnership you just need to show that you are living apart. You can still live under the same roof as long as you can show you maintain different households and lead completely separate lives. This will mean you no longer do things like:
cook together,
sleep together,
spend time together doing things like watching television etc.,
do each other’s washing, cleaning or other chores.

How long do I need to have been married or separated before I can start divorce proceedings?

You need to have been married for at least one year before you can start divorce proceedings for adultery or unreasonable behaviour. You will need to have been separated for a period of two years, or five years for either of the two or five year separation proceedings.

How long will it take for a divorce?

This can vary depending on several factors such as if it is contested or not, and if your partner returns their paperwork in a timely manner or not. Usually, an uncontested divorce will take approximately 4-6 months from issuing the divorce petition to obtaining the decree absolute. There is always a compulsory 6 weeks and 1 day delay between the decree nisi and the decree absolute being issued. If you both co-operate and the paperwork is completed promptly, it will take less time for the whole process.

Can I proceed if my partner is refusing to sign or even acknowledge the divorce papers?

If your divorce proceedings are for either five years separation or unreasonable behaviour, then as long as you can prove your partner received them you will still be able to go ahead and proceed. If you feel your partner will be difficult, arrangements can be made for them to be delivered in person by a court bailiff. If you are petitioning for adultery or two years separation, then you are required to have written confirmation of this by the other party, so if your partner is being difficult you may wish to consider petitioning under unreasonable behaviour instead.

As experienced divorce solicitors in Guildford we will discuss all the options open to you before you have to make any big decisions. We will always be open and honest with you and advise you on the best possible course of action available to you to maximise your chances of success.

Will we need to obtain a court order if we agree on the arrangements for the children?

If you can both agree on things like where the children will live, which school they will attend, how much time they will spend with each of you etc. then there will be no need for the court to be involved in the decision making process. In any divorce proceedings involving children the person filing for divorce (the petitioner) completes a ‘statement of arrangements’ form, which the court will check is in the child’s best interests. This will show the details for contact, schooling, residence etc. and will also show details like maintenance, childcare during term time and holidays too. If the arrangements have been made fairly, reasonably and with the child’s best interests at the centre of them, then it is unlikely the courts will object and both parties will sign it to form part of the divorce proceedings.

What happens if we can’t agree on arrangements for the children?

If you cannot agree on any of the child arrangements together then you would be required to attend mediation, before applying to the courts to make a decision on your behalf. (This is not the case if social services are involved, or if there is domestic violence present in the relationship.) The court does have the power to make a ‘specific issue order’ if necessary to resolve a particular issue – like who the child should live with if necessary. Any decisions they make will always be in the best interests of the child. They will take into consideration the child’s wishes (where appropriate,) their ages, how they may be affected by any changes etc. As expert divorce solicitors in Guildford we are expertly placed to help you navigate through all this information and to explain things plainly, so you can make the correct decisions for you and your family. We will always make sure you have all the facts laid out and will handle your case with sensitivity and professionalism.

Can a child live with both parents?  

If you can both agree that this is best for the child then yes it is entirely possible. It is also possible that if you cannot agree who the child will reside with full-time that the court may make a ‘shared residence order’ which specifies that the child lives with both parents on a shared basis. This does not necessarily mean that the time is split equally, but means that they live with one and spend a significant amount of time with the other. The court would only make a shared residence order if they feel it is in the child’s best interests.

Will any family members have an automatic right to see the children?

Not unless they have parental responsibility. There is nothing in law allowing any family members an automatic right to see your children if they do not have parental responsibility. If family members wish to see the children they would be required to apply to the court for permission to do so under a ‘contact order’. If they had a healthy relationship prior to the divorce then it is likely the court would grant it, as it would be in the child’s best interests to maintain the relationship. The courts will only grant a ‘contact order’ if they feel it is in the child’s best interests.

There will be many other questions you have if you are currently exploring filing for a divorce. As expert divorce lawyers in Guildford we have many years of experience in dealing with all types of divorces and can give you the best possible information pertaining to your individual circumstance. We have a vast wealth of experience in this field and can help advise you throughout the process. We will always treat you as an individual and always give you the very best advice we possibly can.

Contact our Divorce Solicitors Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London

Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving we are here to help and look forward to your call.

Please call us today on 01483 826 470 and let us help you improve your situation.


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