Matrimonial and Divorce Proceedings

At OTS Solicitors we understand that separation and divorce can be emotionally overwhelming despite the length of your relationship, children involvement or financial resources.

We are proud to assist you and make your path easier and stress free all the way from when you first decide to end your relationship to when/once it is finalised and settled.

Our Advocates and Solicitors have built a reputation for providing the best representation in all types of family cases such as:

Judicial Separation

This maybe an alternative option to the divorce, especially for those who do not wish to divorce for religious reasons. The decree for judicial separation can be brought any time after the marriage took place; there is no need to wait for a year to pass which is the case if you want to bring a divorce petition. Even though the marriage itself will not be dissolved and there will not be the same sense of finality as with divorce, parties will be realised from their duty to live together. Also there is no need to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the same financial provisions can be made as divorce.

Nullity

You can end your marriage by annulment any time after the marriage took place. The court will declare the marriage “void” as if marriage never took place or “voidable” as if the marriage only lasted until the annulment took place. This will depends on the grounds for annulment. Some of the grounds include whether you were closely related or already married when you the marriage took place, there was a lack of consent, mistake or duress, the other person had a sexually transmitted disease etc.

The financial relief available is the same as that available on divorce

Divorce

Either party can apply for a divorce by lodging a divorce Petition at Court. However, it is not possible to do so within the first year of the marriage, so you may want to consider alternatives stated above.

The divorce itself is a paper process, so you are not required to attend court and it usually takes about five to six months unless there are financial matters to be resolved.

The ground upon which a party to a marriage can bring a petition for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This should be proved by showing one of the following five “facts” such as adultery; unreasonable behaviour; desertation; the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the petition and both agrees to the divorce; the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of five years immediately preceding the petition.

Obtaining a divorce is a straightforward procedure, however making arrangements for the children and reaching a decision about the finances can be complicated and required a specialist advice.

Finances on divorce

A financial application can be lodged with the Court at the same time as the Petition, however the Court deals with the financial aspects of the divorce separately from the divorce itself.

The parties can agree on the terms of a financial settlement outside the court, detailing how to deal with certain assets and what maintenance is required for the former spouse and children.

In case that the parties cannot agree on financial aspects between themselves the court’s intervention is necessary.

Financial settlements ordered by the Court after a divorce usually take form of a capital provision together with ongoing maintenance or of a "clean break" comprising a one-capital payment which will completely end the financial relationship between the parties.

To order the appropriate financial settlement the Court will take into account the length of the marriage, parties age and state of health, family's standard of living, income, earning capacity, property and financial resources now and in the foreseeable future both in this jurisdiction and worldwide, the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each party.

Disputes involving children

Regardless of where the children will live predominantly after the divorce, both parents will retain equal rights and responsibilities for them. The Court will not make any orders defining arrangements for the children unless the parties cannot agree between themselves and ask Court to make a decision. The Court will encourage parents to reach agreement either directly between themselves, through mediation or solicitors.

However if agreement cannot be reached and Court involvement is inevitable the children's best interests will be of the paramount consideration. The Court will consider children's needs, wishes and feelings having regard to their age and understanding, child's age, sex, background, how the change of circumstances will effect the child, how each parent is meeting the child’s needs.

The Court can make a Residence Order specifying with whom a child will live, a Contact Order setting out the terms and frequency of contact between child and parent, a Prohibited Steps Order preventing for instance taking a child abroad, changing schools, a Specific Issue Order setting out precisely how a particular issue should be dealt with.

Cohabitation

Despite the fact that cohabiting is a most common alternative to marriage in England and Wales and around 25% children born to cohabiting couples, most people do not appreciate how little legal right they have when their relationships end.

If you are considering cohabiting as an unmarried couple, we would advise you to formalise the financial relationship between you by way of a cohabitation agreement. Please do contact us if you would like to discuss this matter with us.

Civil Partnerships

We offer advice on Eligibility and Procedure for in entering into a civil partnership, Dissolution and grounds for dissolution,  Rights to financial provision on dissolution, Rights of children in civil partnerships and Civil partnership agreements.

Due to a major change in the law, civil partnerships now allow same-sex couples to benefit from the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.

Call our Matrimonial and divorce Solicitors and Advocates on 0207 936 9960 or contact us online.

For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, or to book an appointment with a member of our Litigation, courts and Tribunals team, please call us now on 0207 936 9960 

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