Divorce Considerations Around Christmas Time

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Sarah Whitelegge - Senior Associate

4 minutes reading time

For many separating couples, deciding to apply for a divorce is not an easy step, and our Family lawyers understand that Christmas can be a difficult time if you are considering separating. 

How do you initiate a divorce?

The introduction of no-fault divorce means that the process of applying for a divorce is relatively straightforward, and a divorce can be applied for without the need for one party to provide details of the other's conduct or evidence of a period of separation. 

The changes mean that one party, or a couple jointly, can apply for a divorce by confirming that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. 

The changes to the law mean that couples can apply for a divorce without blame being attached, allowing separating couples to concentrate on the process of agreeing on the arrangements for any children and considering how the financial resources will be split.

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Should I wait until after Christmas to ask for a divorce

How long do I need to be separated before I can apply for a divorce?

You can apply for a divorce if you have been married for more than a year.  

Once the divorce application has been issued, the court will send the other party the divorce application and an acknowledgement of service, which they must respond to in 14 days.

You must wait twenty weeks after the divorce application has been issued by the court. It is then possible to continue the divorce and apply for the conditional order.

Six weeks and one day after the date of the conditional order, you can apply for the final order to end the marriage. 

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How long do I need to be separated before I can apply for a divorce

What steps should I take if I am thinking about divorcing? 

If you are thinking about applying for a divorce after Christmas, it is important to consider the practical steps that you can take now. 

It is important that you obtain legal advice from a specialist family lawyer as early as possible so that you understand what your options are. You need to get the right team in place to support you through your separation. 

It is important to consider what your financial needs are and the financial needs of any children.

You may need advice from other professionals such as accountants, mortgage advisers and pension on divorce experts to consider what any potential financial settlement will mean to you on a practical level.

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events and the second most stressful life event after the death of a spouse.

It is difficult to come to terms with not being with someone you thought you would be with forever, and there are usually five stages that separating couples will go through, including denial and shock, anger, bargaining, depression and sadness, and acceptance.

Consider obtaining support from a therapist or divorce coach who can provide emotional and practical support to assist you with the process. 

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What steps should I take if I am thinking about divorcing

How do we tell our children we are divorcing?

Telling the children you are separating is a hard thing to do, and most children of separated parents say that they were told too late and that they were aware of something being wrong before their parents spoke to them.

 It is often better to tell your children something rather than nothing at all as you work out the details of your separation.

 There are lots of local resources for separating parents, such as separated parenting information courses, mediation, and co-parenting support and coaching.

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How do we tell our children we are divorcing

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If you are considering applying for a divorce after Christmas, please contact Myerson Solicitors' Family Lawyers for professional advice on:



Sarah Whitelegge's profile picture

Sarah Whitelegge

Senior Associate

Sarah has over 17 years of experience acting as a Family solicitor. Sarah has specialist expertise in complex children matters and has experience of dealing with applications for child arrangement orders, prohibited steps orders, and special guardianship orders.

About Sarah Whitelegge >