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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 741
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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I signed a marriage certificate with my wife 11 years

Customer Question

Hello, I signed a marriage certificate with my wife 11 years ago. This certificate was signed in Cameroon in 2003. We have lived together most of this time. We moved to the UK in 2006. We now have 2 children. The first is 11 years old and the second is 8 years old. We all moved into the UK 9 years ago and we all possess British citizenship (e.g. my wife, myself and the 2 kids). My wife has mental health issue and has been in and out of the hospital for a number of times during our stay in the UK. We separated last year (e.g. in 2014) thus do not share the same accommodation any longer. Although I do not have any legal document which can be used as evidence of the separation. (The separation occurred after she became mentally ill and reported a false allegation of domestic violence against me to the police. I had no support from the police nor from the social system and decided I was not going to live with her any longer. After a while, she was discharged from the hospital and was then referred to the council as homeless). She was then assigned a social accommodation and has therefore been living at a separated address. We are considered separated since 12 April 2013 when she got admitted to the hospital.
I would like to find out if on the basis of this long term separation, I can initiate a divorce process. If I decide to divorce,
- Can the court delivers an attestation confirming that we have been separated for a while so to enable me to use the same toward the divorce process?
- Without such attestation would the time spent separated still count toward the divorce process?
- How much am I likely to spend?
- How long could this process take to complete?
- Am I entitled to have another partner while waiting for the above process to complete?
- If a divorce is pronounce, am I liable to her? In other word would I be bound to pay any fees to her? If so why?
- What is your advice to me in this scenario?
- And how do I go about it?
I look forward to hear from you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist you.
Please may I ask:
- does your wife agree to a divorce?
- what are the matrimonial assets and the equity?
- are your children living with you or your wife?
Kind Regards
Caroline
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

- No she does not. She is claiming that she will force me to pay her a maintenance fees if I decide to go ahead with the divorce.

-We have no equity. In terms of assets, we have to 2 pieces of lands back in Cameroon. That's all.

-Our children are currently back home in Cameroon although I plan to bring them back here to the UK next academic year. Even though I am not sure whether I will be able to bring both the children because one of them has been confiscated by my mother-in-law back home.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Thank you for your response.
If your wife won't agree to a divorce then you are best petitioning for divorce on the grounds of your wife's unreasonable behaviour. For this you need 6/7 reasons as to why you can no longer remain married to your wife. This is often referred to as a 'quickie divorce'.
Otherwise you will have to wait. If your wife agrees - then you can petition 2 years after separation. If your wife doesn't agree then you will have to wait for 5 years.
The courts do not issue any kind of confirmation that you have been separated for a period of time. You would have to issue your petition and wait to see if your wife choose to contest the date you have stated. This is however not an issue if you choose to petition on the grounds of your wife's unreasonable behaviour.
This is a good guide in respect of petitioning for divorce:
https://www.gov.uk/divorce/overview
The court fee is £410.
If the divorce isn't contested then it could be finalised within 6 months.
If your wife doesn't respond to you divorce petition then you will need to have her personally served with the court papers. The court bailiffs fee for this is £110.
You can live with a new partner whilst you are still married. This is still technically adultery although there is no sanction for this- at most your wife could petition for divorce on the grounds of your adultery. You cannot remarry until you have obtained decree absolute.
In relation to the matrimonial finances - The correct process for dealing with the matrimonial finances and division is to go through a process known as full and frank financial disclosure. Yourself and your wife would need to exchange full details of all assets ( including pensions) and liabilities before negotiations take place in relation to settlement. Everything is included in disclosure - all assets and all liabilities.
The normal rule for division is 50/50 however the matrimonial causes act sets out factors which could lead to a departure from this rule. A few examples are the likely earning capacity of both of you for the future, health needs, future care of children etc.
Your wife could seek to claim spousal maintenance - if your earning capacity is higher than hers.
You should consider making a referral to a specialist mediation service. They can assist in relation to the process of disclosure and also in relation to negotiations about division. One such mediation service is the National Family Mediation service. www.nfm.org.uk
If agreement cannot be reached or your wife won't engage in providing full and frank disclosure then an application would need to be made to the court. You can not make an application to the court until you have at least attempted mediation first.
It is very important that no division of any assets takes place until a court order is obtained.
If division is agreed without the need to apply to court then you should submit a consent order for Judicial approval prior to division and obtaining decree absolute. Not doing so could leave you open for a future claim. Claims have been entertained by the courts decades after divorce / separation - so it is important that you deal with things properly.
A Solicitor can help you draft the Consent Order to protect your position for the future usually for around £300.
If your children come to live with you - then you can make a claim to the Child Maintenance Service for your wife to pay maintenance for your children.
Kind Regards
Caroline
Please kindly remember to rate positively No credit is received for our work unless positive feedback is received.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your answer. I have the following scenario for which further clarity is needed:

Scenario-1:

I understand that if she does not agree to a divorce, I will need to seek a divorce petition. I also understand that a copy of the divorce petition will be sent to a third person if she suspect I have been having an affair with the person.

-If the above is true, how will the divorce petition be used by the suspected person? In other words, would that third person have to appear in court for any reason?

-is there any charge applicable to such a third party?

I am asking the above in case I decide to wait for 5 years of separation and if in the meantime I have decided to partner with another person. Just to ensure this third party will not be involved in any sort of litigation issue

Scenario-2 :

If I manage to get her to agree to the divorce process,

-How easy will the process become?

-Would it be possible to arrange a divorce without involving solicitors? if so, how?

-Would we still need to go through the mediation service? or we can just write down what we want. Where do we go to after this?

Scenario-3:

If I decide to wait until we have spent five years separated,

- What happens to the additional assets or equity that I would have acquired during the period all this period when we were separated? Would they be still eligible for the 50/50 distribution? What if I have taken some liabilities?

- After the 5 years, would the court process be much easier?

Please respond to each scenario

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning
Thank you for your response.
Answers as follows:
1) partly incorrect- it is not encouraged to name a 3rd party in a divorce proceedings. Your wife would need more than a suspicion to be able to petition for divorce on the grounds of adultery - she would need proof or a signed confession from you.
2) if you wife does agree to divorce in the grounds of 2 years separation - be careful as she could change her mind at any point and you would have to start a petition again on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
The divorce process is relatively simple and people often act without solicitors. It is the finances that you need to attend at mediation for. You should consider instructing a solicitor to assist you in relation the finances - even if it is just to help with a consent order.
3) it's accepted that assets after separation shouldn't be included if the outcome is still fair. Process for divorce is the same whether you issue now for unreasonable behaviour or after 5 years.
Kind Regards
Caroline
Please kindly remember to rate positively
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks

From now on, given that we have been separated for the past 2 years, I would like to openly set myself down with another partner while waiting for the divorce process to kick off.

What is the risk of getting into a new relationship? If I do so, would I be exposing my new partner to any form of risk? Charge? Or litigation process in the future? What happens to the assets that I will acquire with the new partner?

And if I do the above I would undisputable that I have an adultery relationship. Would it be an issue that she can stick upon to disrupt either myself or the unforeseen new partner?

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
If your wife could prove adulterery - then she might seek to start divorce proceedings on that basis - but that is it. You are not doing anything illegal and will not be charged with anything. As mentioned above - you cannot remarry until you have obtained decree absolute.
Even if your wife petitions for divorce on the grounds of your adultery - this will cause no social stigma.
Kind Regards
Caroline
Please kindly remember to rate positively
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

There is one last thing I am trying to understand but my lay man understanding is not getting it clear from your responses.

If I put myself into another relationship openly, my wife would certainly have grounds to prove adultery and will therefore be in a position to seek to start a divorce proceedings on that ground.

My greatest concern is about the NEW PARTNER. If the above assumption is fulfilled and my wife has the required evidence, WILL THAT IN ANY CASE AFFECT THE NEW PARTNER? WOULD SHE NEED TO APPEAR IN COURT FOR WHATEVER REASON AS PART OF THE PROCESS? Especially that she would be given a copy of the petition.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
There will be no affect on your partner - even if your wife petitions for divorce on the grounds of adultery and does choose to name her. You can simply choose to not contest the proceedings so that you can be divorced.
Kind Regards
Caroline
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 741
Experience: Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
ukfamilysolicitor and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Excellent ! many thanks

I am giving you the highest rate.

All the best

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
I wish you all the best
Kind Regards
Caroli

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