In our previous divorce blog we went through the ins and outs of divorce procedures, this time we are going further into child maintenance, domestic violence, the divorce460difference for unmarried couples and a breakdown of some of the language that may be used within the proceedings.

When a couple separate child maintenance is usually arranged between the couple, however if an arrangement cannot be made civilly then an application can be made to the Child Maintenance Services. From here the Child Maintenance services will calculate what payment should be made to the resident parent. They do so using a specific formula, this is reviewed every year, from which  the non-resident parent will have to pay the resident parent the specified amount.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, either physical or psychological (such as being a victim of controlling behaviour) you can apply to court for an injunction order.

This can take one of two forms:

A non-molestation order – this prevents the abuser from using or threatening violence against you. A breach of this is a criminal offence.

An occupation order – this requires the abuser to leave the house, or prevents them from returning there. Occupation orders usually have a ‘power of arrest’ attached to them, which means that the police may arrest anyone who may breach the order.

In contrast to married couples, unmarried couples have different rights and such when separating. One of which is that a father does not automatically have parental responsibility for a child if he was not married to the mother. Despite this it can be acquired in a number of ways, such as the father having his name on the child’s birth certificate, if the mother gives permission, or if the court grants it to him.  Another difference would be the division of property, where as a married couple has to fairly divide property, either themselves or through court, and may have to pay maintenance to their former spouse this does not apply to unmarried couples, any property generally stays with whomever owns it.

Divorce Jargon:

Child arrangements order – An order regulating arrangements relating to with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and/or when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

Clean break – A financial/property order on divorce that ends all financial ties between the parties.

Consent order – An order made with the agreement of both parties. Usually refers to an order setting out an agreed financial/property settlement on divorce.

Decree absolute – The order finalising a divorce.

Decree Nisi – The order stating that the parties are entitled to a divorce.

Parental responsibility – Defined as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’.

Petitioner – The party who issues the divorce proceedings.

Property adjustment order – An order following divorce, adjusting the ownership of matrimonial property.

Respondent – Refers to the party who did not issue the court proceedings.

Separation agreement – A document setting out an agreement between spouses, relating to finances and/or arrangements for their children. Used where they have decided to separate but do not yet intend to commence divorce proceedings