16 July 2012
Family Law specialist Edward Kitchen discusses the issue of timing a Divorce
It is reported in the Daily Telegraph that a Mr and Mrs Evans have attracted the displeasure of the judiciary over their Divorce battle. Perhaps unusually, however, the argument is not about the Finances After Divorce, or even over the Custody Of Children. It appears that Mr and Mrs Evans are spending significant amounts of money arguing over whether or not they should get a Divorce now, as opposed to postponing it.Apparently, Mr Evans wants the Decree Absolute now, so ending his marriage and finalising the Divorce. Mrs Evans is reportedly concerned that, if the Decree Absolute goes ahead, Mr Evans may dispense with certain Financial Assets that he owns and she will lose control over their ultimate destiny. The dispute is creating its own costs, over and above the money that the couple have already spent in their litigation. The presiding judge is reported to have called the dispute "puerile".The real issue for the court to decide is whether, by granting the Decree Absolute, it will seriously prejudice one or other of the parties. The only real link between Finances and Divorce would be the loss of widow's benefits under a Pension. The convention has been that a couple getting a Divorce will hold off from ending their marriage until they reach agreement over how to split the Finances After Divorce. However, sometimes one party will want to Divorce before then, for example to remarry.One of the few inevitabilities about the Divorce process is that, unless both parties fall back in love with each other, their marriage will end. Therefore, unless there is a real danger that finalising the Divorce will cause hardship, the court is likely to grant Mr Evans his wish. No doubt Mrs Evans has very good reason to stall the Divorce, at least for the moment. It does seem a shame to spend even more money arguing over this inevitability though.