​Recently Asked Questions and Answers from the Family Law team.

​Recently Asked Questions and Answers from the Family Law team.

Q. I'm divorcing my partner, who is unemployed. Do I have to pay for her legal advice in the process?

A. If your wife is the Petitioner in the divorce then she is entitled to ask the Court to consider making a cost order confirming that you should pay all or some of her costs in the divorce. If you know she intends to make this claim then you can seek to negotiate what your contribution would be before the proceedings are issued at Court. If this isn't agreed and the petition is sent to Court with the claim for costs, then it is at the discretion of the Judge whether or not to make an Order. You can make representations on your Acknowledgement of Service form about your views on this.

When it comes to legal fees to deal with the family finances, it is more unusual for the Court to make an order compelling one party to pay the costs of the other. This generally only happens when one party's conduct is deemed so unreasonable that the other party has been unfairly disadvantaged by that behaviour. However, in most cases each party pays their own costs to sort out the finances unless they agree otherwise.

Q. Do I have to change my name back to my maiden name after my divorce or can I keep my married name?

A. It's entirely up to you. If you do decide to revert to your maiden name then it should be sufficient to send your Decree Absolute to the different organisations such as your bank, in order to arrange to have your name changed back on your documents.

If necessary, you can instruct a solicitor to draft a Change of Name Deed which will also allow you to renounce your married name and return to your maiden name.

Q. My partner lives in the USA and while agreeing to divorce, has no plans to return to the UK where we married. Does he need to?

A. Not necessarily. If you're living in England you can petition for divorce here as the Court would have jurisdiction. You would need to arrange to serve the papers on your partner in US and this may cause some delay. Divorce itself is largely a paper based exercise so in the vast majority of cases there is no need to attend Court so he would not need to be in the country for this.

However, if it became necessary for you to issue proceedings at Court to resolve the family finances then your partner may well need to travel to attend the hearings.

Q. My wife is demanding I continue to fund our daughter's home tuition. Can I insist on proof it would be spent on this?

A. It depends. If payment for home tuition comes from your overall child maintenance payment then your wife is entitled to allocate this to what she thinks best meets your daughter's needs. As such, it would be unreasonable to insist on seeing proof. If you would prefer to ensure any additional payments go towards something in particular, then you could offer to buy specific resources for your daughter's education.

Q. My sister's husband is violent and she is scared of presenting him with divorce documents. Do they have to have any contact during?

A. The Court sends the divorce papers to the Respondent in the first instance, and your sister's solicitors can deal with the correspondence with her husband to minimise the contact she has with him. If he does not co-operate with the proceedings then your sister's solicitors can arrange personal service on him, and this would be done by a Court bailiff or process server.

Your sister could also consider applying to the Court for a Non-Molestation Order against her husband, which would seek to protect her from any further harm. In the case of emergencies, or if your sister feels at an immediate risk of harm then she should contact the police.

At Clapham & Collinge we have a dedicated team of expert solicitors who can provide you with all of the necessary information, support and legal advice, in relation to family law. Contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using 'Make an enquiry' form.

For more information on Clapham & Collinge family law services please see our dedicated webpage following this link.