Family law: divorce advice and support
It is a fact that it is important to be well-informed when contemplating divorce.
Here we discuss when to obtain legal advice, find a recommended divorce solicitor, legal aid (now restrcited to a small minority of special cases), children and mediation. We also talk discuss the courts and documents. Collaborative law is introduced as an established alternative to the Court process. This involves four-way meetings with your individual lawyers to reach agreement. International law, a very complex area, is also part of this legal section and we have several experts in this specialist part of family law.
If you can't find what you want, we are only an email away as we are always here to help. But please read through as many sections as you can, particularly the legal, financial and children ones.
This section is written according to the laws of England and
This section is written according to the laws of England and Wales except for the individual sections on Northern Ireland, Scotland and Ireland. This is for information only and should not be relied upon. Divorce Aid stresses the need to seek your own legal advice and the Team is happy to refer you to suitable family lawyers wherever you are.
'Failure is delay but not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.'
William Arthur Ward.
Is it over?
Is it really over? Have you done everything possible to save this relationship?
Have you looked at your part in this breakdown and can you be honest with yourself?
If you are in the midst of emotional turmoil, now is not the right time to think about divorce. Look back at our section on Emotions where you can find out about counselling and other forms of help. Our books section has our personal recommendations.
This information could help you to understand your feelings and to plan to move forward, whether this is in saving your marriage or bringing it to a more peaceful closure.
Should I start legal proceedings?
If you are so emotionally distraught, now is not the time to suddenly commence legal proceedings with the exception of domestic violence or fear of disposal of assets. (See our article on domestic violence In this section).
But contacting a solicitor and getting advice from him does not mean that you start divorce proceedings, you are just informing yourself about your rights and obligations. No decisions have to be made. Step back and try to get yourself on some level ground, to feel some sort of balance.
How do I know it's over?
You need to ask yourself:
How did you feel when your marriage worked?
Why did it go wrong and when was this?
What was your part in this? Be truthful.
What do you want and who will it hurt the most?
Is what you are fighting about, or neglecting, worth the breakup?
What can you do to save it?
I'm sorry now. I wish you love, Jude (opens music)
'What about the love we made? She's upstairs in her room crying over you and me.' S. Lynn
You may know it is over when you are able to feel more rational and plan ahead for all concerned, when you can walk out the door with little anger or frustration. Otherwise you really do have unfinished business until you are able to look each other in the eye without hatred or resentment. Just as you planned ahead for the marriage, now sadly could be the time to do some work on your divorce.
Step back and reflect
Emotions, children, health, legal issues and finances are all woven together in the divorce process. The more care and consideration you are able to give these areas, then the more acceptable and constructive the divorce may be. Your aim is to move on and you should do all that is possible for your family to do the same. Now is not the time for recriminations and fighting through solicitors. Now is the time to say what you feel.
'Divorce is most likely to wreak havoc when spouses declare war on each other and draft their kids.' C. Ahrons
Where can I start?
We simply cannot cover all aspects of divorce law but we do try our best. If you read through this site, you will probably be in a better position to understand the legal process and how it may affect your particular circumstances.
Is getting a divorce difficult?
The actual technicalities of obtaining a legal divorce are not so difficult. The difficulties arise when you are both riding the emotional rollercoaster whilst dealing with the life-changing decisions affecting any children and your present and future finances. So, whether you have come to this decision alone or together or it has been made for you, the best advice is to learn as much as you can, seek professional advice, always try to communicate with each other and do your utmost to behave in a dignified manner, especially where there are children involved. We hope that this section will enable you to understand the basics of the legal process, provide you with access to further information and enable you to seek out the professional help that you may require.
No substitute for solicitors
As you will see in our first article about solicitors, there is no substitute for your own solicitor's professional advice. He is the only professional person who can advise you about all the areas of your divorce; your legal position, your children and your finances. No matter how much you read or what your friends tell you, there is only one person who can advise you properly. Never rely on the information provided by your spouse; always seek independent legal advice and we normally recommend solicitors who try to reach agreement in a non-confrontational manner.
You are not alone. There are many people willing to help you.
Reach out and it will get better. Have a look at our divorce social worker's article on our Collaborative law page
Preserve your assets and relationships with cooler heads
'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.' Martin Luther King Junior