Divorce in the UK Rises

Divorce in the UK Rises

With coronavirus creating an enormous strain on relationships, the number of enquiries into the potential of divorce have increased enormously. Citizens advice said that divorce searches had risen since April, and that views on its divorce webpage on the first September weekend were up 25% compared with the same date in 2019. If you are considering getting a divorce, then there are a number of things that divorce solicitors Manchester solicitors may be able to help you with.

Getting a divorce

In order to file for a divorce, you need to be able to prove that your marriage has broken down. This may be due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or separation for a period longer than two years. The formal divorce procedure begins when you file a divorce petition form. You can pay the fees and submit your petition at your local divorce centre.

If both parties agree with the petition, before or after informal negotiations, the divorce can go ahead. However, if disputes occur and they can’t be easily resolved, your case may go to court. Court hearings can take up a lot of your and have the potential to be very stressful and emotional.

Prenuptial Agreements

Although no one who gets married likes to think that they would get divorced, sometimes it is important to think about potentially unforeseen circumstances Prenuptial agreements – also known as ‘pre-nups’ – are legal documents that outline exactly what will happen to your assets and children if you get divorced. Our experienced solicitors can help to make sure that you and your partner are well-protected from any future disagreements. It is in everyone’s best interests to ensure that there’s a plan in place for a clean, co-operative separation if things don’t work out the way that you had planned. It is a common misconception that prenuptial agreements only benefit wealthy couples. This is not true. The Law Commission’s report highlights a range of examples where a prenuptial agreement would benefit anyone. For instance, when:

  • One of you has specific personal assets that they wish to protect, such as inherited wealth or a business
  • You have children from a previous relationship or marriage
  • One of you thinks they might come into wealth after marriage
  • You have come to the UK from a country where pre-nuptial agreements are commonplace

Traditionally, courts in England and Wales have been hostile towards prenuptial agreements, often dismissing prior agreements completely. However, following the 2010 Supreme Court judgement in the case of Radmacher v Granatino, this has begun to change. The Supreme Court has now decided that equal weight should be given to the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement, as long as:

  • Each party freely entered into the agreement
  • Both parties fully understood the terms of the agreement at the time
  • It would be fair in the circumstances of the case to uphold it

Following the Supreme Court Decision, the Law Commission then took this change one step further by drafting the Nuptial Agreements Bill to reform the existing UK law. Prenuptial agreements are now legally binding, reducing the court’s power to make financial orders on a divorcing couple. Whilst post-nuptial meaning is debated, this is actually mediation after a divorce.

The family mediation council may be able to help you  to find a solicitor experienced in family mediation.