The most pressing concern for fathers with children upon separation is making arrangements for contact. If your wife is the Petitioner in the divorce then you will need to fill out a statement of arrangements for children form setting out what arrangements you have made. It is always a good idea to agree matters between you but if you find this difficult consider attending mediation. A mediator trained in family matters is specialised to deal with the emotional side of divorce as well as having knowledge of the divorce process, children and financial matters
First of all, in order to begin Divorce proceedings, you will need to be able to show that you have been married for more than a year and satisfy the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This can be due to one of the reasons given below:
- 5 Years of Separation or more;
- 2 Years of Separation and your spouse agrees to Divorce;
- Due to your spouse having committed Adultery;
- Your spouse’s Behaviour is so Unreasonable that you cannot be expected to live together.
- Your spouse has deserted you.
The Divorce Process
There are 3 stages of the Divorce process:
- Stage 1 –Issuing the Divorce Petition
- Stage 2 – Decree Nisi
- Stage 3 – Decree Absolute
The effect of the Decree Absolute
- Decree Absolute severs any legal relationship between you and your wife, which means that they will no longer be your next of kin. If you have children they will become your next of kin. You therefore need to look at possibly making a new will.
The court will not automatically look at any issues surrounding maintenance, pensions or capital division, even if these claims are made in the divorce petition.
If you think that you will not be able to come to an agreement in relation to financial matters with your spouse, you can discuss this in mediation or you may want to make an application to the court.
You can start the financial court proceedings on the same day that you issue your divorce proceedings at court or you could wait and start them at any other time during your divorce proceedings or even after the final order.
A legally binding agreement will give both of you security that neither of you can change your mind. If you want the security of a court order, you may want to consider starting divorce proceedings earlier rather than wait for two or five years’ separation.
For more detailed information about divorce and other issues relating to your separation see the guides section at www.how2divorce.co.uk