Jane Sisson-Pell Divorce Law Barrister
If you have taken the life-changing decision to end your marriage, you may have been through a painful and difficult time to arrive at this point.
Jane is noted for her understanding, being a good listener and treating others with patience, respect and dignity when they are speaking about very personal, often upsetting, family issues. She brings her mix of common sense and reality, advising her clients of their available options. With Jane, clients are fully supported and remain in control of their case, every step of the way.
Jane explains about Divorce
A divorce petition can be issued if a couple have been married for one year or more and the court has jurisdiction to deal with the divorce in England and Wales. The person who issues the petition is called the Petitioner. The person receiving it is called the Respondent.
Divorce petitions must be completed with great care. In fact, many divorce petitions are returned unprocessed,
The court fee for divorce petitions has increased and is now £550. However, if, the petitioner is on certain benefits or has a low income they may be able to get money off the court fee (i.e. apply for fee remission).
Currently, the only ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown which is proved by relying on one or more of the five reasons set out below:-
For adultery to be proved the applicant (the person who starts the divorce proceedings) will have to show that the respondent (their spouse), has had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and the applicant can not reasonably be expected to to live with the respondent. If the applicant does live with the respondent for six months or more after finding out about the adultery, this can be a bar to relying on the adultery ground because the applicant may appear to have condoned it.
2. Unreasonable behaviour (this is the most common reason for divorce)
For unreasonable behavior to be proved the applicant will have to show that ‘the respondent has behaved in such a way that they can not reasonably be expected to live with them’. Examples of conduct which may satisfy this ground are domestic violence or verbal abuse, or an alcohol, drug or gambling problem, or improper association with someone else (e.g. spending hours on internet chatrooms or sending intimate texts to another person). The best approach is to disclose them to the respondent in advance of the issue of the petition in an attempt to get the allegations agreed.
4. Two years separation and the respondent consents to the divorce, in writing.
5. Five years separation and no consent is required.
The future -The government have announced their commitment to the removal of fault grounds in divorce proceedings (adultery & unreasonable behaviour)
On 9th April 2019 the Justice Secretary David Gauke said:
“Hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances. While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples. So I have listened to calls for reform and firmly believe now is the right time to end this unnecessary blame game for good.”
The latest Ministry of Justice figures for October to December 2018 reveal that there was a continued creeping up of the length of time that divorces are taking to process from start to finish. For those granted a decree nisi, the average time from the issue of the divorce petition to the grant of the decree nisi and decree absolute were each up by 5 additional weeks to 29 weeks and 54 weeks respectively, the highest figures so far.
As of May 2018, the online divorce application is available to the public on GOV.UK. The uptake was immediate. Over 600 applications were received in the first week.
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Jane is authorised to practise by the Bar Council and is regulated by the Bar Standards Board. She has a right of audience in every court in England and Wales. Jane can be contacted via the online Bar Council Public Access Portal.