Many individuals are mystified about the divorce process. It’s normal to be stressed at the end of a relationship and to feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. The actual act of divorce, to finish a relationship, can be stressful, costly and drawn out. Nonetheless there are ways that you can minimize the stress, cost and time involved. It has to be said that the route to be taken will vary significantly dependent upon the situation. Here’s a guide to help you understand the options available.
The partner asking for the divorce is commonly known as the ‘petitioner’. The other partner is known as the ‘respondent’. There is more info about terminology, grounds and procedures of divorce on their website..
The factors which can make the divorce process more complicated are..
1. There are children or money issues (e.g. A split of assets) involved.
2. The couple aren’t agreed on the settlement.
3. The case involves complex issues (for example money abroad or held in trust).
If you and your ex partner are agreed about everything, and there aren’t any kids or money issues involved, then there the process is quite straightforward and costs would be relatively low. Where children or money are involved then cost, time and complexity increase a bit. In the majority of these cases a lawyer will be able to quote a fixed cost arrangement. This would possibly not be possible if the divorce is contested or if there are complicated issues involved.
If you wish to represent yourself in court but need legal help over the course of proceedings then most family lawyers will supply advice meetings at a fixed hourly rate. Obviously, if you fail to bring a factual matter to your lawyer’s attention then they are going to be unable to help you on the consequences.
Reaching an Agreement
In all cases, the key to decreasing stress, time and expense is to ensure you have reached agreement on matters with your ex partner before going to court. If both of you have not reached agreement then we’d urge you to use mediation or collaborative law to agree a settlement prior to going to court. It is much cheaper, quicker and simpler to agree a settlment prior to going to court rather than using the court to impose a settlement.
Harney & Wells is a Brighton firm of family lawyers focusing on divorce and separation. They offer fixed price divorce fees. Their web site has advice on divorce. They will offer a free half hour consultation.