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When to start divorce proceedings- please advise!

(13 Posts)
CremeEggThief Sun 07-Oct-12 18:32:51

MY STBXH works as a contractor and his contract is up for renewal in April.

I have already told him I will not start divorce proceedings (on the grounds of his adultery) until we have worked out finances between ourselves, but I am not sure if I should file ASAP after working out finances, if we can even do this in a short time frame, or wait until April to see if his contract will be renewed. I am leaning towards waiting, as what if we spend ages thrashing out a deal only for him to lose his job? But I am sure there must be advantages and disadvantages to both.

I have received free advice from a solicitor about this already, but she wasn't able to say which is best.

Any advice please? Thanks in advance.

IamtheZombie Sun 07-Oct-12 19:05:51

If you plan to sue on the grounds of adultery, I believe you must do so within 6 months of becoming aware of the adultery. You could still sue on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 07-Oct-12 19:17:20

I was also given the same advice that adultery needed robe within six months. It was really important to me that this is the reason for the divorce.

Bellie Sun 07-Oct-12 19:19:55

If you want to go on grounds of adultery, it needs to be within 6 months of finding out about it. So I was told anyway.
However, I didn't until 12 months after (we tried reconcilliation) but as he started the affair less than 3 months after we separated, I was still able to use adultery as the reason. He also didn't contest it, which I am not sure was key or not.
Otherwise it is unreasonable behaviour

ToothbrushThief Sun 07-Oct-12 19:20:48

Even if you work out finances now, when he loses his job (for example) it will all be changed. Only until the consent order is signed will anything be binding. So you might delay and what can you achieve?

What about a fast divorce? Get divorced ASAP? Mine took 16 weeks beginning to end.

ToothbrushThief Sun 07-Oct-12 19:21:45

He might feel more responsible now and cooperate more?? Give it time and that guilt will fade

CremeEggThief Sun 07-Oct-12 19:49:19

Thanks for all replies, although I was under the impression you can use adultery even if it's not within 6 months, as long as you separate immediately with no attempt at reconciliation, which is our situation. Anyway, he is technically still committing adultery, as he is living with the O.W.

Toothbrush, you would think a man who wants a quick divorce would be prepared to be more than generous, but I don't think this is the case. Let's just say it's going to take a while to reach agreement ...

Collaborate Sun 07-Oct-12 23:22:01

First para you're right. Cohabitation for more than 6 mths after finding out about adultery invalidates that adultery as a divorce fact.

olgaga Mon 08-Oct-12 00:04:22

He's hardly likely to contest it, is he? Do you have children?

CremeEggThief Mon 08-Oct-12 09:31:47

Thank you for confirmation, Collaborate.

Olgaga, he broke the news of the affair to me with, "I want a divorce", before admitting he cheated and has been trying to push me into it more or less ever since, so I strongly doubt he would contest!

We have one DC and I am currently a SAHM, so for me, the right financial deal is more important than a quick divorce.

Thanks again.

olgaga Mon 08-Oct-12 14:14:07

You might find this useful:

Relationship Breakdown and Divorce – Advice and Links

It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.


If there are children involved, their welfare, needs and interests are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be “fairly” divided between separating parents.

A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (“Statement of Arrangements for Children”). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - “Residence and Contact” regarding children, “Financial Order” or “Ancillary Relief” in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

Always see a specialist family lawyer!

Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who don’t know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation – there’s a lot of knowledge and support out there!

Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Don’t just stick with the first lawyer you find – shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor you’re happy with.

If you can’t find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:

You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:

You will also read good advice and find a family lawyer here:

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.


You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.

If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so it’s important to have that first.

Married or Living Together?

This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.

Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:

DirectGov advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:

Legal Rights and issues around contact are further explained here:

I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read – there are others of course:


Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements – savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?

If you have no access to financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway. If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order (follow the links below). This seeks financial information from both parties going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.

If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):

1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.

CSA maintenance calculator:

Handy tax credits calculator:

Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:

Parenting issues:

Other Support for Women – Children, Housing, Domestic Violence and - Helpline 0808 2000 247 - Helpline 0844 8044 999 - Helpline 0808 802 0925
(Note that there is usually an appropriate link on these websites for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ.

CremeEggThief Mon 08-Oct-12 14:32:20

Thanks olgaga; that's very helpful.

MOSagain Mon 08-Oct-12 15:24:32

I would issue now on adultery. Even if you reach an agreement now on the finances, the Court won't have the jurisdication to ratify any agreement until DN has been pronounced, which is normally a few months after you issue.

Other posters are correct about the 6 month rule however if he is living with the OW you can safely assume that the adultery continues.

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