Trying to unravel the lives of couples who have shared many years together is seldom easy.
It is for this reason that consulting a divorce lawyer, whether here in Staines or elsewhere is such an important part of the process, and has been highlighted in a recent court case.
A couple, who we shall call Mr and Mrs X, had been married for 17 years and owned a property together.
However, all was not well and Mr X began divorce proceedings but without using a divorce lawyer.
Without a lawyer, the couple attempted to deal with dividing their assets themselves, but could not agree, so the issue was determined by the courts.
It went before a District Judge who decided that the house should be sold and that Mrs X should receive 60% of the sale proceeds, and her ex should pay £15,000 towards Mrs X’s costs, because of Mr X’s poor conduct in the legal proceedings.
However, things became more complicated as Mr X did not comply with the District Judge’s order, resulting in Mrs X applying to the court to enforce it.
What had not been taken into account by Mr X is that when a divorce takes place, there are two important orders – one is the Decree Nisi, and the other is the Decree Absolute. The Decree Nisi confirms that the court is satisfied that a divorce should take place and then six weeks and one day later, Decree Absolute can be applied for confirming that the couple are now divorced.
The period between the Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute is the period when the court can make orders about the couple’s finances.
However, Mr X did not know that he had to apply for a Decree Nisi, and when the court considered Mrs X’s application to enforce the order giving her 60% of the home, it was found that Mr X had not applied for the Decree Nisi.
This oversight led to the court stating that the District Judge’s order giving Mrs X 60% of the home was not valid and neither was the award of £15,000 costs to her.
Mr X will now have to apply for the Decree Nisi. The couple will then have to return to court again for a new decision on how the sale proceeds from the family home should be divided.
Of course, every divorce lawyer knows that a Decree Nisi should be applied for before the courts can make orders about a couple’s finances and had Mr X instructed a divorce lawyer, it would have undoubtedly saved the couple time and money, and probably helped the relationship end more amicably.
Divorce is a very tough time for those involved and everyone connected with them, so having experts helping them part ways smoothly makes so much sense.
If you wish to know more about divorce or any other aspects of law, then please call Dale & Newbery at our office in Staines on 01784 464 491.