Q: My husband and I separated almost four years ago but didn’t bother to get divorced as everything was amicable, neither of us wanted another relationship and I moved into my son’s house because he was working abroad. Now my son is coming back and I need to think about getting a place of my own. I spoke to my husband about funding and he is suddenly defensive and says we should get divorced and sort things out ‘properly’. As it’s him who wants to formalise matters, is it him who will have to pay the costs?
A: Whilst the divorce process itself can be relatively straightforward and amicable cases like yours are rarely contested, when it comes to sorting out the financial arrangements things can be more tricky, so you should seek the advice of a solicitor at the outset.
The petitioner does have the option to claim costs from the respondent in the divorce petition, in which case that party may be ordered by the court to pay the costs of the other party. In financial matters and children matters ancillary to divorce, it is normal for each party to pay their own costs.
Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and your solicitor will take you through the process of declaring your financial situation and acquiring a financial statement to the same effect from your husband, via his solicitor. Provided things run smoothly and your husband does not contest the divorce in terms of ending your marriage contract, the next stage will involve a series of documents being prepared and sent to the court for the Judge to consider without any hearing taking place. Your solicitor will advise you of the best and most cost-effective route to take, given your particular circumstances.
Article January 2020