Speaking to a lawyer can be daunting so having your list of questions written down is always a good idea. In this post divorce lawyer and director Donna Hart shares some of the most frequent divorce questions that people ask their family lawyer.
Frequently asked divorce questions
1.Will I have to go to court?
Many couples are able to divorce, sort out their finances and make arrangements regarding their children entirely amicably. However, you may wish to have independent legal advice to understand what your rights and obligations are and to assist you with the drafting of any agreements reached. If you reach an agreement, even through solicitors, you will not have to go to court. And even if court proceedings are issued to move matters along or to get the other party to engage, many couples may still resolve these issues outside of court. Your lawyer will be able to discuss all of your options with you and help you decide which one may be best for you and your family.
2. I’ve been married for 6 months can I get a divorce?
No in England & Wales you need to have been married for 12 months before either of you can issue divorce proceedings.
3. Do I need to disclose details of my assets to my spouse if we kept them separate during the marriage?
Normally yes. Your lawyer and the Judge will need to know what is in the matrimonial pot before advising you/determining what is a fair division of those assets. Think about asking for half of a piece of cake. You would need to know the size of the cake first!
4. Do I need to communicate with my spouse directly during the divorce?
This is entirely your decision. If you have children it is of course helpful to have a relationship where you can speak directly. If you are unable to you may wish to consider looking at the use of and App or having another agreed form of communication such as email/contact book.
However, one of the benefits of having a lawyer is that if you find it too difficult to communicate with your spouse they can do it for you. You can also agree with your spouse that you will only communicate about the children but not the subject of divorce or finances if this is likely to cause heated discussions.
5. Will I automatically get 50% of my spouse’s assets?
Not necessarily. Your lawyer will need to obtain lots of information from you. There are a number of reasons why the court can depart from equality and your lawyer will be able to advise you as to the factors that the court take into account.
6. I don’t know what my spouse earns – how can you advise me as to a fair settlement?
During the divorce process, there is a duty on both parties to be full and frank regarding their financial position and they will need to disclose full details of their income, debts, capital and pension positions. Failure to do so may result in penalties or the courts drawing inferences from the same. If you choose to enter into an agreement with your spouse without full and frank disclosure it is likely that you will have to sign a disclaimer form confirming that you are content to do this and you understand the risks in doing so.
7. How will our assets be valued?
Quite often spouses will agree the valuations of most of their assets. If they can’t then they will need to instruct independent experts. This may include surveyors to value property, forensic accountants to value a business or actuary’s to give advice on pensions.
8. How often will my lawyer communicate with me?
Again this depends. Most lawyers should stay in touch with you regularly and keep you updated as to the progress of your case. This is something you can discuss with your lawyer and if you feel that you are not being kept in the loop raise it with them.
9. How long will the proceedings take?
This depends on a number of factors. How quickly you and your spouse deal with any requests made of you, how efficient your lawyer is, how busy the courts are and how complex your case is? However, once your lawyer knows the facts of your case they should be able to give you a more precise time estimate.
10. How much will it cost?
Again this depend on how complex your case is and how long it goes on for. It will also depend how the charge out rate of your lawyer. This will vary dependent upon experience. Some firms also offer legal aid.
Your lawyer will be able to give you a costs estimate and should regularly review this.
If you are considering divorce or separation you will probably have many more divorce questions relating to your own circumstances. For legal advice regarding your situation and to ask your divorce questions please do get in touch using the form below.