The “Quickie Divorce”
There are often references in the media to celebrities obtaining a “quickie divorce” but what does this mean and are they available to everybody?
In fact the so-called “quickie divorce” is the process which 99.9% of divorcing couples use today. The only exceptions to this are those individuals who become embroiled in defended divorce proceedings which are extremely rare.
The reference to the “quickie divorce” may well be a historical hangover from the 1970′s when the “special procedure” was introduced to allow divorces to proceed more simply and without anybody needing to attend at court. That procedure remains today but there is nothing “special” about it.
In reality the speed at which a divorce progresses will largely depend on the co-operation of both parties and how fast the court deals with the papers.
The only aspect of a divorce which can be potentially be expedited is the 6 week and 1 day waiting period between decree nisi (interim divorce order) and decree absolute (final divorce order). In rare circumstances it is possible for the court to shorten this but there must be a good reason.
The reason that some divorces seem to last far longer than others is not because there is some special way of cutting in line if you are a family lawyer acting for a celebrity but because often the application for decree absolute is delayed until a financial settlement has been agreed.
The “Common Law Wife”
There remains a perception that if you cohabit with a person for a certain number of years you somehow obtain the same rights and obligations as a married couple. Family Law, however, says differently.
Cohabiting couples do not have legal rights against each other in the same way which married people do regardless of how long they have lived together. Where an unmarried couple separates the starting point will be that each party retains the assets in their own name and that can include the family home or family business.
It is possible for the court to make orders in relation to the division of the assets of a separated cohabiting couple but they will not be guided by principles such as fairness and equality in the same way they are on divorce and this can often lead to an outcome that appears very unfair to one party.
It is open to cohabiting couples to regulate how their assets will be divided on divorce by entering into a cohabitation agreement. This can deal will issues such as the division of assets, sale or transfer of any properties, payment of maintenance and so on in much the same way pre-marital or post-marital agreements do for married people.
Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.
We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email james.maguire@family-law.