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Divorce: Your Action Plan

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 13 Nov 2019 |
Divorce Plan Court Hearing Contact

Dealing with a divorce can be very difficult time, both from an emotional and financial standpoint. It can be very painful and upsetting, particularly if there are children involved. Although it can be extremely hard, you have to remember that at the end of the day, you want your life back, not stuck in court arguing, so be civil with your ex, and try to compromise.

How to Obtain a Divorce

In order to obtain a divorce, you must serve a petition at your local county court. You can only do so if you have been married for one year or more, and can prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You must prove that your marriage is irretrievably broken through one of five grounds:
  • Adultery which you cannot forgive
  • Unreasonable behaviour (domestic abuse, addiction, etc.)
  • Your ex agrees to a divorce and you have been separated for two years or more
  • You have been separated from your ex for five years or more
  • Your ex deserted you at least two years ago

Most divorces are implemented using the unreasonable behaviour grounds, as it is far reaching in its definition. Although these grounds might feel constraining, from the court's position, divorce should be a final choice. As of 6th April 2011, couples are now automatically referred to Mediation before any divorce proceedings will be granted.

Do You Need a Solicitor?

It is possible for you to deal with the divorce yourselves, without a solicitor and you will be able to obtain advice booklets from your local county court. You will, however, need to deal with Child Contact and financial arrangements (such as Paying Child Support) and the division of assets, which can be quite complex. A solicitor can deal with these issues if you wish. Either way, the divorce needs to be fair. It must not lead either party to become disadvantaged. The divorce itself needs to be recorded by the court.

Will You Have to Go to Court?

If you and your ex can agree on child contact arrangements, finances and the division of property amicably, then you may not need to go to court. But if you disagree or you ask the court to make an order for financial support, then you will need to attend a court hearing.

If you can agree on residence and contact arrangements for your children, you will not need to make an application to the court. If you do not agree, then either party can make an application for a residence and/or contact order. It is a good idea, if you can, to sit down with your wife and discuss how you wish to continue to parent your children. A parenting plan can help to ease the divorce process, where your children are concerned.

The Cost of Divorce

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much your divorce will cost. Generally, the more you argue about, the more it will cost. You may have to pay for the petition, the Decree Absolute (the document which shows that you are divorced), and any applications regarding children or financial arrangements.

If you are struggling financially, it is worth finding out whether you are entitled to help with legal costs.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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I’m sorry if I have posted this message in a wrong area. I would like some input from you guys if that’s ok. My wife and are were married in 2003 but things weren’t great between. We have two children (11& 9)that she had used them and alienated me as a bad dad. I have moved past this and I did everything develop a good trusting retionship with her to avoid my children being involved in our mess. She threatened my children not to tell me anything that goes on in their house and since then, my children will not share their day with me or what they do at the weekend. The answer I get from them now is “I don’t remember or I don’t know” they don’t wanna share with when they have fun with their mums friend.At some point I thought I lost it all then my girls started to have some trusting relationship.I have done sorts and danced to my Extunes to have a better honest and trustingrelationship with my children.I pity my children with this confusion. My heart broke and it feels like a knife stucked into my heart, my intestine making noise. One of the major reason of our separation was being disrespected, be it in the public or in the house- I have a boss lady that my ego won’t bow to,lol. Anyway, we got back last year to see if we can work things out for the last push but ended up moving out after 6months again. She started seeing someone for less than 2months, introduce them to the kids and went out of London for Easter shortbreak without knowing. No one told me that my ex introduce her bf to my kids and went Away without me knowing. I’m not sure if I’m overreacting. She only want to talk to me through text which has always been ok for me. I sent her a polite message but she think different because it was her private life. I told that I’ll definately inform her before I could introduce my kids to anyone. When we separated in 2011 she met someone and within weeks she introduce the kids to him who happened to a mutual friend looking to stay in the country. She asked me for divorce at the time which I didn’t give at the time. Now I have started the divorce process so that my children don’t get confused any longer than they had. Shame that my kids kept this away from me.Thank you for listening to my ranting
Mrt - 9-May-18 @ 4:13 PM
My wife and I have been married for 12 years we have a 6 year old son. This is a very complicated situation. We separated in 2014 because I was having financial difficulty and went bankrupt, I moved out to protect her and to be honest wasn't happy in the marriage. After the bankruptcy ended I moved back, however in the time I was away I did a number of relationships which stayed quiet. Also in that time my wife had now built up quite a bit of debt herself, I moved back out of guilt and paid off her debt, however one of the girls I had dated in the time I was had contacted my wife and told her everything, to my surprise nothing happened. However in the 6 months since that happened, money has been getting tighter and tighter as I don't have a very well paid job and she home schools our son, which I agree with. Then two weeks ago, it all became too much, I snapped and moved (again). She is now refusing to let me see my son and collect some personal items I didn't have time get when I left, unless I pay her rent arrears, which I don't have that kind of money. Please can you advise? Thanks
CJ - 30-May-17 @ 4:50 PM
Hi, my wife wants to leave me. We have been married for more than 10 years and have two children. She says she doesn't love me anymore, but there has been no adultryor abuse. Obviously if she wants to leave, I can't stand in her way. Can she take our children though and what are my rights as a dad?
Scared - 21-Nov-16 @ 11:19 PM
Hi all, I'm after some advise as a Dad that has been through divorce before, however am starting proceeding again..... my previous divorce I was young and settled forfixed days and weekends of care for my child, this has been perfect and no bad feeling between both parents and it has benefited the child. however this time round with the new wife (3yrs) 7 year old twins, I have cases of her with severe depression, alcohol abuse, affairs (denied) but proven by what she has told people, physical abuse (pics of scares and wounds) and many other items. whilst items have been discussed by her with her doctor and medication / counselling agreed, she is trying to cite me as the person which pushed her to these actions even though I was not in a view to get legal aid. how can I go about and what do I need to do..
burt - 19-Oct-16 @ 11:30 AM
Hi ,Going by what i am reading , pls could you advice meon how to handle my separation from my wife of 5years,3 weeks after i came back to town (london) after attending my dads funeral (of which i was away for 5 weeks) she asked me to move out of the house cos of an unreconciled argument we had the 2nd week in to the time i came back, 2,that she wants a separation, we both have a child together ,3,we leave in a council house of which her name is down as the main ten ate, and me as a co tenate further its a two bedroom house ,of which her three sons(22(slightly autistic, 19,7) from other relationship, (diff dads) are leaving in same house (we are over crowded) i i have begged her to give me some more time to raise some money for another house of which she gave me 5wks i have 2 wks left, she says i only have visiting time for my child on her own terms , i work part time but she does not work,please any advice what are my rights(we are both citizens
Mikky - 13-Oct-16 @ 4:47 PM
Help plz my ex a woman is constantly making it hard for me to see my two girls 11 14 always controlling times when they visit restricting times they around never informing me when I can see them this has gone on four years and now getting worse she lives with a woman who is controlling and mentally bullies them so they are scared my daughter arranged to stay a few days but this changed and had to go home she said she wanted to stay but was refused so I informed mother she was staying for the arranged time then we were threatened with police and she got upset what can I have in place to see she is ok at home
Ando - 3-Aug-15 @ 10:40 AM
Madi2 sorry to hear what you are going through. Laws in Scotland are funny and people sitting in Cosy jobs ( Social Services & Police especially Central Scotland ) make them even worse just to clock more hours. My understanding has been, law is hell bent towards women though, does not matter how much caring have you been towards kids. My son has been uprooted from his family home and more than 3 months she and all the associated agencies " for well being " did not even mention to me where they were! he is being brain washed against me and you are quite right things get said in these kind of situations but come on blaming for sexual nature is beyond low. you mentioned narcissistic behaviour, she is diagnosed with that (back home) but never mentioned to health authorities here so no medical record. and yes, what's the name of his lawyers by the way ? mine in very soft touch and lazy! ps I don't think we get any reply here, its just to lighten up our chests.
GMANAK - 9-May-15 @ 7:56 PM
@liza, because you're still married your husband could potentially make a claim against your inheritance. The best thing to do would be to contact your solicitor (if you are using one for the divorce) and get them to look into it and find out if he has a right to some of the money.
Mike56 - 1-Jul-14 @ 2:05 PM
hi there im going threw a divorce which we been together 10 years my father has passed away an left me hi home and 10,000 is my husband entitled to half of this as we are together
liza - 30-Jun-14 @ 10:31 PM
Morning. I am divorced and I have a court order that clearly illustrates how the rotation of parenting must be implemented, She does not want to comply I have been to family court in( JHB CBD) to state my case they are sending me to police station to have her arrested, when I get to the police station (PROTEA POLICE STATION & MOROKA POLICE STATION) they are sending me back to the family court and ever since we officially divorce I have never skipped my monthly maintenance PAYMENT in short I am an ATM dad. The law is BIASED how can you help me.
TSHEPO - 24-Jun-14 @ 4:04 PM
Dear people I have been searching online for the last two and half years to find help during my divorce proceedings which incidentally are still not finalised because a controlling ex partner who initiated the proceedings. His way of punishing me for daring to want to leave him. He has accused me of all sorts of lies, theft, adultery, tried to get me sectioned, charged, kept me from my daughters the youngest being pregnant at the time, denied access to money for my basic needs and yes I am telling you taht for three months I had no money for food, gas or electric, January to April, and as unbelievable as that may sound it is the absolute truth. He kept my name on tax credits so it meant that there was no help for me from anywhere financially. I thankfully have a few good friends who did not let me starve.spent all of our savings and blown away most of our assets on his partying and lifestyle while remaining conveniently unemployed, He was an IT professional by the way. I am in the unfortunate position of not being able to afford a lawyer to act for my best interests so both he and his like minded lawyer have crucified me at ever turn and kept this nonsense going with harassment and bullying tactics. Yes his lawyer too, It seem a personal issue for him too! When you are divorcing in Scotland the law tells you quite clearly that you have rights to see your children, the right to food and shelter, and all assets are halved. You would think then that proceedings should be simple. My point is that it does not matter if you are a man or a woman, You are open to all of these allegations and will find that you have to prove every breath you take. I would like to take this situation to Parliament and have a law made for divorcing couples to be forced to mediation, access to children as long as they behave and don't try the usual tactic of turning those precious minds against one or other of the parents, amicable separation of assets and speedy recovery and divorce that will not harm any individual or children. Narcissists such as this should not be allowed and guided by money grabbing lawyers to the detriment of human well being and rights and having been through all of this I do not want revenge I want it to stopPlease send guidance if you can D
madi2 - 23-Jun-14 @ 7:07 PM
Hi, I am separated, my wife left me and moved out of the home 2 years ago. She took all the cash and I was left to pay the mortgage, credit cards and loans. She was violent throughout all our 20 year marriage, both verbally and physically and now she is bullying me over the phone that she can move any time she wants to, that the house is hers and she will not let me have it. I am afraid of her, how can I stop her from moving back?My question is, if I keep paying the mortgage, will that count when we separate legally or will the house be split 50/50 when it's sold? If I make improvements to the house (the bathroom and garden really need repairing), will the money I put into it be paid to me when we split the house? And finally, would really love to keep the house, but she said will not sell it to me, so, can I buy her half even if she doesn't want to? PS: don't know if that matters, but she makes and always made more money than me and we have two boys who are over 20 years old. Thank you
BASmall - 3-Apr-14 @ 11:56 AM
ADVICE PLEASE! My wife of 18 months have told me she wants to separate. We have a son between us who is 12 months old and a daughter of 6 from a previous relationship whom I have treated as my own since we met. Before me met I had my own home which I'd owned for 12 years after we married I sold this and we moved to our new house 6 months ago. Now I am being put under pressure to move out despite doing nothing wrong - also we cannot sell the house as we are tied into a 5 year fixed mortgage. Shes claims she want to do everything amicably but we can't discuss anything without her becoming either defensive or using the kids to justify her actions. Totally lost where to go from here and feel I'm in danger of being distanced from my kids and losing everything I've ever worked for.
Rob42 - 15-Apr-13 @ 11:47 AM
I am in a very troubled relationship with my wife. We were married in India over 4 years back when we were Indian nationals and now we live in the UK with Brit nationalities. My wife comes from a different linguistic & cultural background than myself. After marriage she had problems getting along with my mum when they lived together for 3-4months. So I decided to keep them away. but she still keeps cribbing about her 4 years on. We have 2 children.boy who is 2 years 8 m & girl whose 7 months. Now my son has bonded well with me and shows obvious preference of myself over her and because of that bonding he speaks my language and not my wifes. She is now very jealous and started to pressurise him to speak in her language & I think it is very difficult on my boy and is doing nothing but making him go away further from her. I think she has some issues getting over the issues which she had with my mum and now those issues are getting her to do things with her children which she should not be doing. I want to legally separate from her bec we fight a lot and it has negative impact on my children. I am trying my best to keep this relationship alive but her behavious is going from bad to worst. My career is having a negative effect & I am the sole bread earner. I am concerned that broken relationship is not good for children but I am also conscious of the fact that fighting all the time is also not good for children. In the event of separation can I get custody of my children & would the marriage in india create a prblem of legal divorce in the UK.
Rishi - 28-Mar-13 @ 10:43 AM
Hi,My wife of nearly 10 years has now told me she wants to separate,Its been amiicable so far We have 2 children 4 & 6 we live in a council tenancy and she has gone to her mums to live but its overcrowded. She originally said I could stay in the flat, But now she is asking me to contact the council and advise them she has left, presumably so she can claim benefits. I dont want to just leave the flat as I have no where to go or friends to call on.What should I do ?
kingdaddy_pants - 25-Feb-13 @ 3:58 PM
ADVICE PLEASE GREAT DAD My wife and I separated with a 4 year old who is my princess 3 months ago. She has been obstructive, abusive towards me and will not let me seem daughter. I tool legal advice and they pushede down the mediationroute. She attended but refused to be in the same room which frustrated. She offered me minimal access toy daughter with a view to build on that. She said divorce is not high on the agenda even though she is separate to get my address and has had the divorced papers bounced to my work and parents on Scotland. She played the caring mum card said that she will slowly give access but wanted my address for the sake of our daughters well being. I refused knowing she was at it. I found out the next day that has been speaking with other of my team asking for my address details. I am caught between a rock and a hard place and I want to fight back as I am being walked on. ANY HELP?
Davejrogers - 7-Sep-12 @ 1:34 AM
How is overseases property shared in divorce time ? (That is parties being in separation)
Datya - 9-Aug-12 @ 2:58 PM
You have missed out the two most important pieces of advice. The two pieces of advice that most solicitors will also fail to give you. 1. Do not leave your children unless it is your intention to be restricted to only limited contact with them. 2. Do not leave your home unless you you are happy that you should only receive a minimal amount of its value. Usually 10% to 25%, if you are lucky.
Peter546 - 4-Apr-11 @ 12:30 PM
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