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3 Divorce and Separation

Download Divorce and Separation (PDF File, 324kb)

1. Introduction

2. Where to start

3. Separation

4. Divorce

5. If you have children

6. Supporting your children

7. Money and property

8. Making arrangements should you die

9. Dealing with emergencies

10. Terms used in divorce and family law

Some words and phrases have special legal meanings in family (divorce) proceedings.

Full sexual intercourse while you are married with someone who is not your husband or wife.

A formal, written statement sworn to be true.

Ancillary relief or financial relief
Financial orders made by the courts in divorce or judicial separation proceedings.

Conditional dissolution order
For civil partners, this is equivalent to a decree nisi so it is the first decree of a dissolution , when the court is satisfied that the grounds for the dissolution have been proved. It does not end the civil partnership.

The person adultery has been committed with. This applies only where adultery is the reason for the divorce. Co- respondents are not usually named.

When and for how long the children will see or communicate with the non-resident parent (the parent they don't live with). Contact can include phone calls and letters (indirect contact) as well as visits and overnight stays (staying contact).

Decree absolute
The final decree of divorce for married couples - the marriage is over only after this has been made. The equivalent for civil partners is a dissolution order.

Decree nisi
The first decree of divorce for married couples, when the court is satisfied that the grounds for the divorce have been proved. This does not end the marriage. The equivalent for civil partners is a conditional dissolution order.

Dissolution order
For civil partners, this is the equivalent of a decree absolute. The civil partnership ends only when the order has been made.

Maintenance/child support
Money that one partner pays to the other. It is supposed to be paid regularly to support the partner or children.

Periodical payments
Another name for maintenance.

The document that sets out the reason for the divorce or judicial separation and asks the court to grant it.

The person who starts the proceedings by filing a petition at the court.

The person the petition is filed against.

Where the children will live and who they will live with after divorce.

11. Further Help

12. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor and mediator specialising in family law.

Leaflet version: May 2008