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Family Law Blog

Help, My Marriage Has Broken Down and I Want A Divorce

Coming to the sad conclusion that your marriage is over can be an overwhelming and daunting decision. To make matters worse, divorce has a reputation of being entailed with conflict and confrontation. However in reality, this is not always the case.

In order to be granted a divorce, the court must be satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, thus preventing the courts from being bombarded by divorce applications that are later retracted. In order to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, you can rely on one of five facts. These facts include;

  • That the Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent;
  • That the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent;
  • The Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years;
  • The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately and the Respondent consents to the divorce and the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years.

To a lot of people, this may read like a load of jargon, however, when broken down, the application of these facts can be a lot easier to understand than first thought! Petitioner simply means whoever applies for the divorce. In most cases this person normally pays the costs of the divorce i.e. the £410 court fee and any further costs. This person also has to decide on what grounds the divorce is going to be petitioned on. The Respondent then means the party who is responding to the divorce petition.

In such cases where adultery has been committed there is often hatred and animosity between the parties. Therefore, in such circumstances, unless both parties agree to petition the divorce on the grounds of adultery and are amicable about this, it is recommended to petition on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour of the party who has committed adultery and include that as a 'particular' in your narrative. This then allows other instances as to why the marriage broke down to be included into the petition. It should be remembered that if adultery is the grounds for the divorce, then the adultery must be proved!

In most instances, unreasonable behaviour is used. This is a useful fact to rely on because the scope of it is very wide. So long as the particulars of the unreasonable behaviour convince the court that it has caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, anything you wish can be included. It must be remembered that this process alone does not include dealing with any kind of financial agreement as to the division of assets, matrimonial home, pensions etc. These agreements can only be drawn up in what is known as a Consent Order to make them legally binding. Without a sealed Consent Order from the court, a financial claim can be made against each party at any point. For example, if after the divorce was finalised, one of the parties won the lottery or inherited a large sum of money, the ex-husband/wife would be entitled to make a claim against this money. It is therefore always recommended that financial matters are dealt with during a divorce to prevent this prospect.

Divorce can be a complicated and emotive subject between the spouses and it is always recommended that a solicitor is consulted. Divorce is certainly not always a do-it-yourself task.

If you would like to speak to us about any matter of Divorce, please contact us here

This article was written by Rebecca Caws, a Paralegal with Abels Solicitors & Commissioners and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Removing A Child From The Jurisdiction For The Purposes Of A Holiday

The father or in the case of same sex couples the non-birthing mother will have responsibility if he/she is named on the birth certificate and the child is born after December 2003. They will also have Parental Responsibility if the parents marry.

If the other parent does not have Parental Responsibility, you are free to remove the child from jurisdiction as you wish.

If parents separate and a parent wishes to remove the child from the jurisdiction for the purposes of a holiday and the other parent agrees then, it would be best to take a confirmation letter from the parent not attending the holiday with all their details, including name, address, date of birth, telephone number and their passport number.

If the non-holidaying parent refuses then you would need to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order, asking the court to make an order that you should be able to go. A word of warning these applications are not quick and therefore its best to deal with these issues well in advance of any holiday.

If a parent has a Family Arrangements Order from the court confirming that the child lives with them (formerly a Residence Order). Then the child(ren) named on that order maybe removed from the jurisdiction for the purpose of a holiday for up to 4 weeks in any one time without the consent of the other parent.

If a child is removed from the jurisdiction without your consent and you have concerns that the child may not be returned to the Jurisdiction, you should obtain Legal Advice immediately as this can be a serious situation which requires immediate action.

With the school holidays soon being upon us, we thought that this might be quite a relevant topic and a question we are often asked. The Jurisdiction means England and Wales.

The first place to start is that all parents with Parental Responsibility must consent to a child being removed from the jurisdiction, unless there is Child Arrangements Order stating where the child lives (formally called a Residence Order) but I will talk about this later.

The birth mother normally will automatically have Parental Responsibility for a child as soon as it’s born, unless Social Services are involved.

If you would like to speak to us about removing children from the jurisdiction, please contact us here

This article was written by Samantha Jeanes who is a Partner at Abels Solicitors & Commissioners. Samantha is a Member of The Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.