As experienced divorce lawyers in Guildford we totally understand that the enforced lock down situation has had an impact on many families, not all of it favourable, with many couples now seeking our help.
For some families this has been a wonderful time learning to reconnect with each other, spending quality family time together, sharing the homeschooling, chores etc and living in effect in a little bubble with just your partner and children.
However quite the opposite experience will have been the case for other families who have found the lockdown period a real strain on the relationship, some of which may have already been showing signs of unravelling beforehand.
Being forced into close confinement with people, even though you are in a relationship, can be an incredible strain on you both and increase tensions that may have been bubbling under the surface for years.
Each families experience will have been unique to them and most families will have experienced a degree of both good and bad experiences throughout.
Unfortunately we are now seeing stories materialising from China primarily, but closely followed by European countries, that as couples are emerging from lockdown the number of them seeking divorce advice has risen dramatically and sadly it is to be expected that the UK will follow suit.
It is a sad statistic that the post Christmas break is the busiest time for divorce lawyers, when we receive the majority of our instructions to commence divorce proceedings. So it is natural that a post lockdown increase in cases is to be expected.
It can be an extremely challenging time to spend so much time at home with families and it is not usually the rainbows and unicorns picture often portrayed on social media. Many couples will have taken this time to take a long hard look at their marriage and realise that they are no loner happy together and taken the decison to seek legal advice to commence divorce prceedings.
As expert divorce lawyers Guildford, we understand the complexities of relationships and exactly how big a decision it is to take the step to start legally ending your marriage. We would urge you to really think about whether a divorce is actually what you want post lockdown, as this has been an extremely strange time, full of stress and uncertainty. Many families will have had financial concerns, especially if one or other of them has been furloughed and only receiving 80% of their wages - this can place a significant burden on families. Or you may have been home working and trying to juggle homeschooling and keeping the children motivated and entertained, with all the problems that entails . All these extra burdens place significant strain on a relationship, whether or not you were already struggling, so we would urge you to not rush into any decisions without giving them due thought and consideration. However if you have decide that there simply is no way forward with the marriage and you wish to seek us out for expert divorce lawyers Guildford legal advice please feel free to do so.
We have listed below some of our most commonly asked questions, but feeel free to contact us with any others you may have.
Who can get divorced?
Anyone who meets the following criteria can apply to divorce - You will need to have been married for a minimum period of 1 year; be able to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down; your marriage must be recognised in the UK and the UK must be either you, or your spouses permanent home.
What are the grounds for a divorce?
In the UK you will need to be able to prove your marriage has irretrievably broken down by petitioning one of the following grounds to end the marriage - adultery; unreasonable behaviour; two years separated (you will need your spouses agreement to use this reason); five years seperated (you will not need your spouses agreement for this reason); or desertion.
How long does it take for a divorce to become final?
There is no hard and fast rule to this as each divorce is individual and unique to the two people involved. As a general average it can take approximately four to six months if the divorce is uncontested and you both agree all the details. If you do not agree and therefore the divorce is contested it can take a lot longer, as all the details will need to be finalised before your divorce can be processed. Just bear in mind each divorce is different and do not fall into the trap of comparing yours with your aunties neighbours friends divorce - yours will be unique to you.
Will I have to disclose any financial information?
If you and your spouse agree all aspects of the financial settlement pertaining to your divorce, then you may wish to bypass individual financial statements to minimise costs. However the financial part is one of the most important parts of the divorce and it is higly recommended that you both provide full and honest personal financial statements to ensure that you are both fully aware of each others individual situation If either of you are found to be deliberately hiding finances or assets it will be discovered and will have severe ramifications on your case, as the courts do not take lightly to any misleading behaviours, or deliberate attempts to mislead them regarding your financial situation.
Is there anything to consider I will not have thought of?
Yes several. Firstly your emotions. Divorce is a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis and you will need to ensure you have a good support network surrounding you. Do not use your children as go-betweens for messages etc, or speak negatively of your spouse in their hearing - find a trusted friend you can unburden to and a safe place to do so away from the children, arranging childcare if needs be so they do not need to witness any negativity surrounding your spouse.
Another thing you may not have thought of are things like your life insurance policies, wills, in work death benefits etc as you will need to adjust these to reflect new beneficiaries in the event of your death,
It is also worth taking a look at your pensions etc to see how they are affected by your divorce and if any adjustments need to be made there too.
Obviously there will be many more questions you will have along the way as you navigate through your divorce. As experienced divorce lawyers Guildford we are on hand to help you with ever aspect of your divorce, from start to finish and you will always find us reliable, professional and honest when advising you on your situation and the next steps to take. Our advice will always be with the welfare of your family front and centre.
Contact us here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law solicitors for any divorce queries you may have and we will help you to navigate through all the information and options open to you.
Call us on 01483 826470 and let us start helping you today.