Divorce is often a long and difficult process, both emotionally and financially, for all parties involved.
Although it officially ends the marriage between two adults, it is a life-changing decision that will significantly alter the everyday reality of the whole family, including any children.
There are several elements to a divorce, but for many divorcing parties the two primary concerns are the care and well being of children and the division of assets.
Assets and children – what comes first in the judicial process?
It is common for parents who choose to divorce to get independent legal advice, which ensures that both parties’ interests are looked after and represented, in order to reach an amicable agreement. The judicial system supports parties trying to reach an agreement outside of the court. As such, alternative dispute resolution methods that are less confrontational than court processes, such as mediation, are offered to couples who are divorcing.
However, if this is not successful and there is intrinsic disagreement then you may need to go to court and have your case considered before a judge.
Most parents manage to agree on arrangements for children. When filing for a divorce, you need to include a Statement of Arrangements, in which the suggested arrangement for any child should be outlined.
If you and your ex-partner do not present an agreement, there is a risk that the court will not consider your divorce until you present an arrangement. In contrast, such a temporary halt will not occur if there is disagreement over the division of assets.
What should be my first step?
If you and your partner are considering divorcing then you may want to speak to a solicitor in order to know your rights and what consequences splitting up will have. If possible, you should always try to communicate with your partner and try to reach an amicable arrangement in relation to any children and joint assets.