An issue that often affects armed forces personnel is relationship breakdown and divorce.

Lengthy and numerous deployments can equate to long periods of separation from spouses and families. Such separation can eventually take its toll on a relationship and sadly for many the damage is irreparable, and often ends in breakdown and divorce.

Veterans can also be affected by a breakdown of marriage albeit for different reasons, such as being unable to adapt to their new in life in “civvy street” or their partners having difficulty in dealing with any issues relating to PTSD and various other issues. All these issues can have an impact on a relationship.

It is often said that a relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Combined with serving in the forces or being a veteran can be overwhelming for a number of reasons. These can include being deployed overseas and being unable to deal with any ongoing family matters.

There is often a misconception that individuals can file for divorce on the basis of ‘irreconcilable differences’. This is not a ground for divorce in England and Wales. There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales and that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This has to be proved in one of five ways, either

  1. adultery
  2. behaviour, such that it is unreasonable to remain together
  3. desertion
  4. 2 years’ separation with the other party’s consent or
  5. 5 years’ separation

A divorce culminates in a final decree dissolving the marriage, and there are 6 steps to get there;

  1. Commencing divorce proceedings – this requires one party, “The Petitioner”, to file a petition with the court.
  2. Issuing divorce proceedings – the Court will do this and then serve the divorce papers upon the other party “The Respondent”.
  3. The Respondent replies to the petition by completing the acknowledgement of service.
  4. The Petitioner will then apply for the Decree Nisi.
  5. The Decree Nisi is pronounced in open court, no one need attend.
  6. 6 weeks later the Petitioner applies for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute.

If someone is experiencing a relationship breakdown, it is important that they seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. This is where Maxwell Hodge Solicitors can help, we have a dedicated family team who have experience in assisting Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans, if you need advice and assistance please contact one of our offices listed below to arrange an appointment.

Aintree – 0151 526 9321

Formby – 01704872156

Heswall – 0151 342 6447

Huyton – 0151 489 6161

Kirkby – 0151 548 7370

Maghull – 0151 526 7131

West Kirby – 0151 625 9254

Woolton 0151 421 2400

Margaret Agnew is a family solicitor and a member of Resolution