If you have parental responsibility before you separate from or divorce your child’s parent, you will not lose it because of the separation or divorce.
If you were married when your child was born, both you and your spouse automatically have parental responsibility. A mother has parental responsibility from the birth of the child regardless of whether she is married to the father. If the father is not married to the mother when the child is born, they do not automatically have parental responsibility but will acquire it if their name is on the child’s birth certificate, if they have a Court Order granting it or if they have a legally binding agreement with the mother.
Regardless of who has parental responsibility, the parent with whom the child spends less time is required to contribute financially to their children’s maintenance. If you are the parent with whom your child spends more time (perhaps the child is living primarily with you and spending time with the other parent) and you are not receiving child maintenance, a solicitor can advise you about how to secure the payments. If the child or children spend equal time with both parents, there may be no payment due.
If you consider that your marriage has broken down irretrievably you can apply for a divorce, provided at least 12 months has elapsed since you married. You no longer have to explain the circumstances surrounding the breakdown in the marriage (such as the other party’s unreasonable behaviour or adultery) or otherwise wait for two or more years before starting the process.
The shortest possible period from application to final divorce is 26 weeks but circumstances mean it could take longer. Often parties will wait to complete the final stage of the divorce process after their financial arrangements have been agreed.
The court charges a fee of £593 for an application to dissolve (end) a civil partnership.
The above court fees are payable whether you use a solicitor or handle the dissolution yourself. Legal fees cover the cost of things like the solicitor or mediator’s time advising you, preparing documents and representing you at Court (if required).
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may have to pay additional Court fees or be entitled to fee exemptions.
Domestic violence or domestic abuse can include any incident of threatening behaviour or violence and is a criminal offence. Types of domestic violence include:
Controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships is a criminal offence where the behaviour has a serious effect on the victim. Examples of controlling or coercive behaviour can include acts of domestic violence, but also includes:
An occupation order is a type of order that the court can make, that regulates who is entitled to live in a property. An occupation order can:
A non-molestation order prohibits someone from behaving in a certain way towards another person. Each non-molestation order will be tailored to address individual circumstances. If you have applied for a non-molestation order it can, among other things:
Mediation is when an independent and professionally trained mediator helps you work out an agreement with your former partner about issues such as: