adultery not main cause for divorce any longer in England

Adultery is no longer the main cause for divorce in England

Filing for divorce under the terms of adultery is no longer the leading reason for marital breakups in the UK, new research has found.

According to a study by accountancy firm Grant Thornton, who release an annual survey on divorce in the UK, ‘growing apart’ is now the most common reason cited for cause of divorce.

The lack of emotional chemistry is now the leading cause of divorce in England & Wales.

Since the survey began in 2003, adultery had always been the number one cause of divorce, with 25% of cases citing that as the main reason for splitting up. In the most recent survey,  27% of respondents said ‘falling out of love’ was the primary cause of marriage breakdown.

Other common reasons for divorcing were: unreasonable behaviour (17%), mid-life crisis (10%) and money (5%).

Link to download the Grant Thornton survey

The Family Procedure Rules 2010

We are providing you with this page so that you can download a complete copy of the Family Procedure Rules 2010

However; if you need any assistance in relation to a Family Law matter including Divorce or Children Act 1989 proceedings in England & Wales, we offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation to assist you. Call us during office hours on 020 8401 7352 for your own personal free advice session, in the strictest confidence.

Form FM1 & The Family Procedure Rules 2010

Form FM1

The new Family Mediation Information and Assessment Form FM1 will be compulsory in all proceedings (with some exceptions) in connection with family proceedings to which the Practice Direction 3A applies. For details of Practice Direction 3A of the new Pre-Action Protocol in Divorce and Mediation see here. When issuing proceedings the form should be completed in accordance with the protocol and filed with any application made to the court.

The form must be completed and signed by the mediator, and counter-signed by your solicitor or the applicant, where either:

  • The Applicant/Petitioner has attended a MIAM (part 1 of the form); or
  • The Applicant/Petitioner has not attended a MIAM (Part 2 of the form) and
    • The mediator is satisfied that mediation is not suitable because another party to the dispute is unwilling to attend a MIAM and consider mediation; or
    • The mediator determines the case is not suitable for a MIAM; or
    • A mediator has made a determination within the previous four months that the case is not suitable for a MIAM or for mediation.

In all other circumstances, the form must be completed and signed by the solicitor or the Applicant/Petitioner.

New Practice Direction 3A Pre Action Protocol for Divorce Mediation Information and Assessment

Practice Direction 3A – Pre-Application Protocol for Mediation Information and Assessment

 

This Practice Direction comes into force at midnight on 6 April 2011 and all application filed at the Family Courts after the coming into force of this Parctice Direction must now comply with the requirements set out below.  

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 3 (Pre-Application Protocol for Mediation Information and Assessment)  

Introduction 

1.1 This Practice Direction applies where a person is considering applying for an order in family proceedings of a type specified in Annex B (referred to in this Direction as “relevant family proceedings”). 

1.2 Terms used in this Practice Direction and the accompanying Pre-action Protocol have the same meaning as in the FPR.  

1.3 This Practice Direction is supplemented by the following Annexes:  

(i) Annex A: The Pre-application Protocol (“the Protocol”), which sets out steps which the court will normally expect an applicant to follow before an application is made to the court in relevant family proceedings;  

(ii) Annex B: Proceedings which are “relevant family proceedings” for the purposes of this Practice Direction; and  

(iii) Annex C: Circumstances in which attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is not expected.  

Aims 

2.1 The purpose of this Practice Direction and the accompanying Protocol is to: 

(use of alternative dispute resolution;  

(application to court for an order in relevant family proceedings; and  

(means of resolving their disputes.  

a) supplement the court’s powers in Part 3 of the FPR to encourage and facilitate theb) set out good practice to be followed by any person who is considering making anc) ensure, as far as possible, that all parties have considered mediation as an alternative

Rationale

3.1 There is a general acknowledgement that an adversarial court process is not always best suited to the resolution of family disputes, particularly private law disputes between parents relating to children, with such disputes often best resolved through discussion and agreement, where that can be managed safely and appropriately. 

3.2 Litigants who seek public funding for certain types of family proceedings are (subject to some exceptions) already required to attend a meeting with a mediator as a pre-condition of receiving public funding.  

3.3 There is growing recognition of the benefits of early information and advice about mediation and of the need for those wishing to make an application to court, whether publicly funded or otherwise, to consider alternative means of resolving their disputes, as appropriate.  

3.4 In private law proceedings relating to children, the court is actively involved in helping parties to explore ways of resolving their dispute. The Private Law Programme, set out in Practice Direction 12B, provides for a first hearing dispute resolution appointment (‘FHDRA’), at which the judge, legal advisor or magistrates, accompanied by an officer from Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), will discuss with parties both the nature of their dispute and whether it could be resolved by mediation or other alternative means and can give the parties information about services which may be available to assist them. The court should also have information obtained through safeguarding checks carried out by Cafcass, to ensure that any agreement between the parties, or any dispute resolution process selected, is in the interests of the child and safe for all concerned. 

3.5 Against that background, it is likely to save court time and expense if the parties take steps to resolve their dispute without pursuing court proceedings. Parties will therefore be expected to explore the scope for resolving their dispute through mediation before embarking on the court process.  

The Pre-application Protocol 

4.1 To encourage this approach, all potential applicants for a court order in relevant family proceedings will be expected, before making their application, to have followed the steps set out in the Protocol. This requires a potential applicant except in certain specified circumstances, to consider with a mediator whether the dispute may be capable of being resolved through mediation. The court will expect all applicants to have compiled with the Protocol before commencing proceedings and (except where any of the circumstances In Annex C applies) will expect any respondent to have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, if invited to do so. If court proceedings are taken, the court will wish to know at the first hearing whether mediation has been considered by the parties. In considering the conduct of any relevant family proceedings, the court will take into account any failure to comply with the Protocol and may refer the parties to a meeting with a mediator before the proceedings continue further. 

4.2 Nothing in the Protocol is to be read as affecting the operation of the Private Law Programme, set out in Practice Direction 12B, or the role of the court at the first hearing in any relevant family proceedings.  

Annex A – The Pre-application Protocol 

1 This Protocol applies where a person (“the applicant”) is considering making an application to the court for an order in relevant family proceedings. 

2 Before an applicant makes an application to the court for an order in relevant family proceedings, the applicant (or the applicant’s legal representative) should contact a family mediator to arrange for the applicant to attend an information meeting about family mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (referred to in this Protocol as “a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting”).  

3 An applicant is not expected to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting where any of the circumstances set out in Annex C applies.  

4 Information on how to find a family mediator may be obtained from local family courts, from the Community Legal Advice Helpline – CLA Direct (0845 345 4345) or at www.direct.gov.uk.  

5 The applicant (or the applicant’s legal representative) should provide the mediator with contact details for the other party or parties to the dispute (“the respondent(s)”), so that the mediator can contact the respondent(s) to discuss that party’s willingness and availability to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.  

6 The applicant should then attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting arranged by the mediator. If the parties are willing to attend together, the meeting may be conducted jointly, but where necessary separate meetings may be held. If the applicant and respondent(s) do not attend a joint meeting, the mediator will invite the respondent(s) to a separate meeting unless any of the circumstances set out in Annex C applies. 

7 A mediator who arranges a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting with one or more parties to a dispute should consider with the party or parties concerned whether public funding may be available to meet the cost of the meeting and any subsequent mediation. Where none of the parties is eligible for, or wishes to seek, public funding, any charge made by the mediator for the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting will be the responsibility of the party or parties attending, in accordance with any agreement made with the mediator.  

8 If the applicant then makes an application to the court in respect of the dispute, the applicant should at the same time file a completed Family Mediation Information and Assessment Form (Form FM1) confirming attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or giving the reasons for not attending.  

9 The Form FM1, must be completed and signed by the mediator, and countersigned by the applicant or the applicant’s legal representative, where either:  

a) the applicant has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting; or  

b) the applicant has not attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and

(i) the mediator is satisfied that mediation is not suitable because another party to the dispute is unwilling to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and consider mediation;  

(ii) the mediator determines that the case is not suitable for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting; or  

(iii) a mediator has made a determination within the previous four months that the case is not suitable for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or for mediation.  

10 In all other circumstances, the Form FM1 must be completed and signed by the applicant or the applicant’s legal representative.  

11 The form may be obtained from magistrates’ courts, county courts or the High Court or from www.direct.gov.uk.  

Annex B – Proceedings which are “relevant family proceedings” for the purposes of this Practice Direction  

Private law proceedings relating to children, except:  

• proceedings for an enforcement order, a financial compensation order or an order under paragraph 9 or Part 2 of Schedule Al to the Children Act 1989;  

• any other proceedings for enforcement of an order made in private law proceedings;  

or  

• where emergency proceedings have been brought in respect of the same child(ren) and have not been determined.  

(“Private law proceedings” and “emergency proceedings” are defined in Rule 12.2)  

 

Proceedings for a financial remedy, except:  

• Proceedings for an avoidance of disposition order or an order preventing a  disposition; 

• Proceedings for enforcement of any order made in financial remedy proceedings.  

(“Financial remedy” is defined in Rule 2.3(1) and “avoidance of disposition order” and “order preventing a disposition” are defined in Rule 9.3(1))  

Annex C – A person considering making an application to the court in relevant family proceedings is not expected to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before doing so if any of the following circumstances applies: 

The mediator is satisfied that mediation is not suitable because another party to the dispute is unwilling to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and consider mediation.  

 

The mediator determines that the case is not suitable for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.  

 

A mediator has made a determination within the previous four months that the case is not suitable for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or for mediation.  

 

Domestic abuse

Any party has, to the applicant’s knowledge, made an allegation of domestic violence against another party and this has resulted in a police investigation or the issuing of civil proceedings for the protection of any party within the last 12 months.  

 

Bankruptcy

The dispute concerns financial issues and the applicant or another party is bankrupt.  

 

The parties are in agreement and there is no dispute to mediate.  

 

The whereabouts of the other party are unknown to the applicant.  

 

The prospective application is for an order in relevant family proceedings which are already in existence and are continuing.  

 

The prospective application is to be made without notice to the other party.  

10  

Urgency

The prospective application is urgent, meaning:  

family or his or her home; or  

would cause a risk of significant harm to a child, a significant risk of a miscarriage of justice, unreasonable hardship to the applicant or irretrievable problems in dealing with the dispute (such as an Irretrievable loss of significant evidence).  

11  

There is current social services involvement as a result of child protection concerns in respect of any child who would be the subject of the prospective application.  

12  

A child would be a party to the prospective application by virtue of Rule 12.3(1).  

13  

The applicant (or the applicant’s legal representative) contacts three mediators within 15 miles of the applicant’s home and none is able to conduct a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting within 15 working days of the date of contact.  

a) there is a risk to the life, liberty or physical safety of the applicant or his or herb) any delay caused by attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting

Do you need a divorce solicitor

Do You Need a Divorce Solicitor?

Probably the first question anyone facing diorce will ask themselves is, do I need a divorce lawyer to handle everything for me?  Have you ever searched for ‘divorce solicitors’ on Google? Well try it and see what comes up. Thousands upon thousands of divorce service providers ranging from expert family law solicitors through to cheapie online divorce sites offering a do-it-yourself divorce for less money than an outdated second hand mobile phone. It’s horses for courses out there! In some cases, these cheapie online form fillers might be a viable option for you and one that just may save you money. In most cases though they will frustrate you, complicate issues, never be accessible by phone, answer emails in obscure terms and surely demand more money from you for asking questions. Also, most of the cheapest of the cheap are not even lawyers, so as soon as the divorce starts getting remotely complicated, they will quickly send you and email advising you to take your case elsewhere. That’s where we solicitors come in. We are the experts in family law. You may not like it, but cost usually defines quality. Cheap is cheap for a reason! However; please don’t getthe impression that we mind all that much. After all, as specialists we prefer to provide our services to clients who can differentiate between solicitors and online form sellers.

Nevertheless, we accept that there are situations when you just might get the result you want without a solicitor, so we are providing this short guide to help you decide for yourself whether you need a lawyer or you can just do-it-yourself.


Do You Absolutely Need a Lawyer or Solicitor for Your Divorce or Custody Case? 

The fact is your interests will always be better represented by a solicitor. You already know that. Just like your car will always be better serviced by a mechanic rather than a butcher. But are there times when self-representation is, perhaps, “good enough“.

The following are some very general guidelines about the safest situations in which you might choose to represent yourself and the riskiest situations where self-representation is likely to result in problems. Remember, only you can decide ultimately what is best for you. Don’t buy a product because it is cheap, buy it because you need it and you know that it is fit for it’s purpose.

Safest do-it-yourself cases: 

  1. A short marriage where both parties worked throughout the marriage, earn similar salaries, have no minor children together and have accumulated no property together�
     
  2. A short marriage in which neither partner worked steadily or earns much money, there are no minor children together and the parties have accumulated no property�
     
  3. A marriage in which both partners worked throughout the marriage and earn similar salaries, have accumulated limited property together and where both parties are on decent talking terms and are excellent, involved parents to their minor children and, each parent wants the other parent to stay very involved in the life of their children
     
  4. A marriage in which neither partner works steadily or earns much money, they have accumulated no property and both parties are excellent, involved parents to their minor children and, each parent wants the other parent to stay very involved in the life of their children
     
  5. Any marriage in which the partners have no children together and they are aware of and able to agree on how to divide all property�
     
  6. Any marriage in which the parties are able to agree on how to divide all property, their agreement provides adequately for the care of the children and reasonable contact arrangements are agreed�
     

Riskiest do-it-yourself cases (or Do Yourself a Big Favour and Figure Out A Way to Retain an Expert Solicitor): 

  • the matrimonial assets are considerable
  • the parties cannot agree on anything
  • the parties own more than one property
  • there are allegations of fraud, deceipt or misconduct by either partner
  • there are overseas properties or assets or income
  • the marriage has been a long marriage
  • either partner has contributed disproportionately to the marriage
  • either partner owns or runs a business or has a limited company
  • either partner stands to inherit or has inherited under a Will
  • either partner has a criminal record
  • either partner is accused of domestic violence
  • either partner is accused of sexual abuse
  • either partner is accused of non-physical abuse or harassment (verbal, emotional, psychological, psychic, etc.)
  • either partner is neglectful and/or irresponsible
  • either partner suffers from mental illness
  • either partner has a physical disability or other significant health issue
  • either partner does not have mental capacity
  • either partner abuses legal or illegal substances
  • either partner is accused of poor parenting
  • either partner has an uncertain immigration status
  • either partner is on the verge of bankruptcy
  • either partner owns a privately held business
  • either partner has a history of avoiding financial obligations
  • either partner is believed to be hiding assets orthere are allegations of financial impropriety
  • either partner is believed to work for cash payments
  • either partner has a history of refusal to work for a living
  • either partner is planning to move to another country
  • either partner has threatened to abduct the children
  • either partner has tried to limit or interfere with custody or contact with the children
  • either partner has badmouthed the other to the children
  • either partner has stated that the other is able to support the children without assistance
  • either partner has indicated that they will avoid providing any financial support, even if the court orders it
  • either partner is just painfully disagreeable just for the sake of it
  • the other partner’s lawyer is consistently extremely aggressive, contentious and intimidating
  • the case has already started and the judge has strongly advised you to seek legal representation
  • the case has already started and the judge really doesn’t seem to be seeing things your way at all
  • or; you just simply feel overwhelmed and confused…

Please note that this article contains only general information and does not comprise specific legal advice. If you wish to discuss any aspect of your matter with an expert family law solicitor, we offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation on 020 8401 7352 which may prove to be the best call you ever made. It’s not cheap, it is simply free! By the end of the consultation you will know pretty well where you stand and what, if anything, you have to gain from instructing an expert family law solicitor over an online divorce form filler.