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28.03.2019

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How do I get a divorce?

If you have decided that your marriage is over, you may now be considering taking the next step and starting the divorce process.

While the end of any relationship can be difficult, the thought of having to deal with a divorce at the end of a marriage can be daunting.In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the divorce process and dispel some divorce myths, so you’ll know what to expect.

Divorce: where do I start?

First of all, you or your spouse will need to fill out a divorce petition. The person who petitions for divorce is known as the applicant (also called the ‘petitioner’).

In England and Wales, you will need to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by giving one of five reasons:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • 2 years of separation (with consent from the other spouse)
  • 5 years of separation (no consent necessary)

You can either fill out the necessary forms yourself or get a solicitor to do it for you. Alternatively, there are online divorce companies  who complete divorce petitions.

Completing the forms yourself is the low-cost option. However, having an experienced solicitor to advise you throughout the divorce process, can help you to ensure that no errors are made (which could waste time) and make sure that you do not lose out when it comes to the financial settlement.

Whichever way you choose to go, there is a court fee of £550 (some people may be able to get help with this).

Next steps – the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute

When the divorce petition has been lodged correctly and your spouse has received a copy and confirmed that they agree to the divorce, the next stage is the decree nisi. This is a necessary part of the divorce process but it does not mean that your divorce is final, only that, in principle, the courts don’t see any reason why your divorce cannot happen.

Once this has been granted, you will have to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before applying for the decree absolute. You are not divorced until you receive the decree absolute.

From start to finish, the divorce process normally takes around 6 to 8 months but can take much longer if, for example, there are complex assets involved. This is because it is normally advised that the financial settlement should be finalised before applying for the decree absolute. It is not unusual for financial issues to take much longer to resolve than the divorce process itself.

Quick divorce myths

‘Solicitors just make matters worse’ – Solicitors are there to guide you through the process and help you to understand your rights. Good solicitors should be ready to negotiate your financial settlement using methods such as, for example, Collaborative Law and should only advise going to court when the circumstances warrant it.

‘A quickie divorce will save loads of money and time’ – Despite what may appear in the press, ‘quickie divorces’ do not exist. Indeed, when a celebrity seems to have divorced after such a short period of time, it is normally the decree nisi that the papers are talking about, not the final decree absolute.

Making the decision to get a divorce may be difficult, but the divorce process itself needn’t be daunting. With advice from an experienced family solicitor, you can start the divorce process prepared for what may lie ahead and can begin to plan for the future.

Earlier this month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie, announced that they were going to divorce after a 25-year marriage.

The news hit the headlines worldwide, following their announcement on Twitter, where they said they intended to continue their “shared lives as friends”.

But what does this mean for what is reportedly the world’s richest couple? And what could a divorce settlement on this scale look like?

get a divorce

Mackenzie could become the world’s richest woman

What the financial settlement will look like when the couple divorce is not yet clear.

The couple will reportedly divorce in America. While American law is different to English and Welsh law, if the divorce were to take place in England, the starting point would be a 50:50 split.

If award-winning author Mackenzie were to receive half of the couple’s fortune, this could make her the world’s richest woman.

Was there a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement sets out what a couple would like to happen to their assets if they divorce. This is signed before marriage.

According to TMZ, a source revealed that Jeff and Mackenzie may not have a prenup.

It’s worth pointing out here that the couple were married before Jeff started Amazon, so they may not have thought that a prenuptial agreement was necessary.

On the other hand, it may be possible that the couple could have entered a postnuptial agreement (similar to a prenup but entered into after marriage) at a later date.

What could the financial settlement look like?

News website Business Insider, says that almost all of Jeff Bezos’ net worth is in Amazon stock.

If this is the case, it could be that Mackenzie may end up with a sizeable stake in Amazon, as part of their divorce settlement.

Of course, this is only speculation. What the financial settlement will ultimately look like, will depend upon a variety of factors, including the local law. What’s more, the couple may never publicly reveal the details of their divorce settlement, so we may never know exactly what the settlement looks like.

High-net-worth divorces can be extremely complex

It’s not unusual for high net worth individuals to have highly complicated finances. For example, there could be offshore interests or trusts set up for family members.

For this reason, high net worth individuals should seek advice from a solicitor with experience in this area.

Separating on good terms

The announcement read: “We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”

There’s no doubt that divorce can be extremely difficult. Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos may have a long road ahead of them.

At the moment, it seems that the divorce is amicable, which should make things easier for both them and their four children.

How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert divorce solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues:

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on financial disclosure

For more information on financial disclosure during divorce call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details. 

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