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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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hello there, I have been separated from my husband now since

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hello there,
I have been separated from my husband now since may 2013. I have a restraining order on him now which I did only a few weeks ago due to I was a victim of abuse from him. He lives abroad but we both want this divorce and agree to it. What is the quickest and cheapest, if there is one, that I can start this as soon as is possible? Also, I am worried about my property, it is my house. He has properties in his country that he fully owns and a working business, and this is where he has been currently living since 2013.
Thank you

Hello and thanks for your question.

a) the divorce.

You have grounds for a divorce based on your husband's behaviour. The quickest time that a divorce can take is about 4 to 6 months, as it's a very bureaucratic procedure. However, it will take much longer if your husband does not sign the acknowledgement of service form and return it to court, so that you have to instruct a private process server to serve the papers on him. Or if he decides to defend the divorce. But you have said that he agrees to the divorce so hopefully he will not cause any delay.

The court fee to file the divorce petition at court is £410. If you have to get a process server to serve the papers on him, there will be their fee as well - the amount will depend on who you choose to use.

The process server I use Stephenson's Investigations

charge about £150 to serve papers on someone in this country. They have contacts all over the world - it is likely to be more if you are asking for papers to be served on someone in a different country, but see what they quote you.

Your legal costs will depend on which firm of solicitors you use, and how straightforward forward your case is. My firm charges £500 plus vat - but that's only for a very straightforward divorce.

You can find a specialist family law solicitor near to you here:

b)the property.

Once a divorce petition has been filed at court, either party can apply to court to ask the court to decide how the matrimonial assets should be divided if the couple cannot agree between themselves. The court fee is £255.Plus of course your legal costs, which are likely to be several £1,000s unless the case settles quickly. And it also takes several months or longer if it goes to a contested hearing.

The matrimonial assets are everything in your name, everything in his name and everything you own jointly. So your property even tho' it's in your sole name counts, as does all his property abroad.

The court starts from the position that the assets should be divided 50:50 then considers any reason why that should not happen eg if one party has a significantly lower income than the other and/or is to provide a home for dependent children .

Within the court case, both sides have to provide a detailed financial statement of all their financial circumstances to assist the court in deciding what would be a fair outcome. If he doesn't cooperate, eg refuses to give details of his business or the properties abroad, the court can make assumptions about what his true financial position is. So I would guess that as a minimum, the court would order that he can make no claim against the property in your sole name.

Going to court is stressful, time-consuming and expensive, so if you can negotiate a settlement that's preferable. The family court anyway now normally requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court. You will be exempt from the mediation requirement because you have a restraining order within the last two years - but you can still choose to do mediation if you want. You would need to find a mediator who was prepared to have you and your husband in separate rooms, with the mediator shuttling between the two of you, so that you were not at any risk from his bullying or intimidation.

Here's where to find a local family mediation service:

If you can reach agreement about property and finance, then a solicitor can draw that up into a draft consent order to be signed by both of you. This is then filed at court (once a divorce petition has been issued) for the district judge to approve. Once approved by the court, a consent order is as binding as an order made following contested proceedings.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

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