Divorce

Divorce image for Gard & Co. Solicitors in Plymouth Divorce webpage

Divorce is stressful.  There is an enormous amount of emotion tied up in a marriage and if the bonds aren’t released carefully it can spring out in all sorts of directions.

Before yanking too hard at the strings talk to one of our experienced divorce solicitors.  We can help you manage the situation to achieve an outcome that works for you and your family in a way that keeps the emotional and financial cost to a minimum.

Free consultation with one of our divorce solicitors

At your free initial consultation one of our divorce solicitors will establish whether you have grounds for divorce or dissolution (see below).  If you wish we can begin the process that will lead from a Petition for Divorce through to the Decree Absolute.

How our divorce solicitors can help

The legal process for the dissolution of the marriage itself can be fairly straightforward, especially if you and your ex-partner agree that you both want a divorce and the reason you are getting divorced.  However, the separation may raise other issues in relation to finance, property and of course the children. These can be the most difficult to deal with after a breakup and without professional advice they can quickly lead to confrontation. We can help.

Within our team we have divorce specialists accredited by Resolution, an organisation believing in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. Resolution members follow a Code of Practice that promotes negotiation and agreement.  It considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children, following the separation of their parents.

We also have Law Society accredited specialists in Children Law.  Accredited members must prove that they have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of children law and the representation of children.  You can find out more by clicking on the Children Law logo below.

Below are links to some related information that you may find helpful:

Divorce in later life

Financial settlements

Name changes

Grounds for Divorce or Dissolution

It is not possible to start divorce proceedings within the first year of a marriage (although things that happen during that first year can be used as evidence in proceedings after the first year).

However there are a number of measures that we can take on your behalf:

1.       Nullity

A decree of nullity can be obtained to say that the marriage is void (treated as never having existed) or voidable (valid until the date of the decree of nullity). It is void if it is essentially defective, for example if one party is already married or was under the age of 16 at the date of the wedding. It will be voidable if one of the parties was married under duress or there has been no consummation of the marriage.

2.       Separation Agreement

We can prepare a separation agreement for you (please see our separate article for details).

3.       Protection from violence

Protection from violence, for example non molestation orders, can be obtained under Part IV Family Law Act 1996.

4.       Maintenance Proceedings

During the course of a marriage we can apply to the court on your behalf for maintenance to be paid to you by your spouse.

5.       Welfare Benefits Advice

You may be entitled to welfare benefits. Any maintenance payments would be taken into account.

6.       Children

We can help you deal with the issue of who your children will live with after a separation, contact for the non resident spouse and maintenance payments for children.

After the First Year of Marriage

After the first year of marriage you can apply for a divorce. An application must be made to the court setting out the reason(s) that the marriage is at an end (or has ‘irretrievably broken down’). Only one of the five following reasons will be accepted by the court:

1.       Adultery

a)      you can only use this ground if you are the non defaulting party, i.e. not the one committing the infidelity.

b)      you must be able to prove that sexual relations have taken place.

c)       you must make your application within six months of the affair taking place.

d)      the sexual relationship must have been with someone of the opposite sex.

2.       Unreasonable behaviour

There is a strict two part test applied by the court:

a)      there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; and

b)      your spouse has acted in such an unreasonable manner that you can no longer tolerate living with them

There is no set list of unreasonable behaviour and the court will take into account the background of each case individually. However certain types of behaviour are commonly used, for example:

i)      financial irresponsibility

ii)      violence or abusive conduct (physical or verbal including excessive criticism or nagging)

iii)      a lack of, or excessive, sociability

iv)      a lack of, or excessive, demands for sexual intercourse

3.       Desertion

This applies if your spouse walked out on the marriage, with the intention never to return, at least two years ago.

4.       Two years separation – with consent to divorce from spouse

You must have been living apart for a continuous period of 2 years and your spouse must consent to the divorce.

5.       Five years separation – contested by spouse

If your spouse will not consent to the divorce you must be able to show that you have been living apart continuously for a period of at least five years.

Why instruct Gard & Co?

Please click here to find out why you might benefit from instructing our divorce solicitors.

If you are contemplating ending a marriage or are already dealing with a divorce or dissolution and would like further advice, please contact Tony, RachelAmanda, Catherine or Alice on Plymouth 01752 668246 to arrange a free initial consultation.  Alternatively you can send an email by clicking here.


If you are looking for a divorce solicitor in plymouth choose the plymouth divorce law firm, Gard & Co Solicitors.

Gard & Co Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
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