West Essex  & City Family Lawyer 

Nina Pantzaris - Divorce and Family Solicitor

"Understand your Options" Session

I give a free 15 minute advice session by telephone. In this session I help you understand

- the options that are available to you and

- which options are most appropriate for you in your case and

- I answer your queries about your options.

If you would like to book this free session please email me at [email protected] simply putting "options" in the title box and I will email you to arrange a convenient time to call you for your session.


                                                                                               DIVORCE OPTIONS

Although you do have to file papers with the court you do not have to go to court to make your financial arrangements. You can also do this in the following ways;

Correspondence between solicitors. The solicitors negotiate by putting forward offers of settlement to the other. The aim is to avoid contested court proceedings. I draft comprehensive offers of settlement for my clients.

Direct discussion with your spouse. This is often described as the 'kitchen sink' approach and can be assisted by each spouse taking advice from their solicitor along the way. I provide the legal knowledge to enable the individual to discuss matters directly with their spouse.

Collaborative law - this is a series of meetings with you and your solicitor and your spouse and his/her solicitor. It is  based on goodwill and transparency. It is designed to reduce conflict by searching for solutions for each party. I am pleased to act in collaborative cases.  For my complimentary guide on collaborative law please email me here. to request one. Simply put "guide" in the title box of the email. 

Mediation - this is a series of meetings between you and your spouse and a mediator. The mediator is neutral  and helps you both reach agreement. It is not about reconciliation as many people think. You can and should still take advice from your own solicitor but your solicitor does not attend the mediation with you. I provide legal advice for individuals using mediation and this makes the mediation more effective.

  •  Arbitration - this is a process where the spouses appoint an arbitrator to make decisions about their case instead of using the court. Each spouse is represented by their own solicitor in the arbitration process. I can represent clients using arbitration where appropriate.
  •  D.I.Y - Individuals can seek legal advice from a solicitor to help them do the job themselves. They can prepare their court documents and handle their appearances in court themselves and seek legal advice from me to enable them to do this on their own.
  •  Court - By issuing proceedings in court the court will lay down a timetable and list hearings at court where the judge can help the individuals reach agreement or the judge can make the decisions for them.

The Court Process - paperwork and timetable.

• This is started by the filing of a divorce petition at Court. The Court sends a copy of the petition to the respondent.

•Within 14 days the respondent must then file a form with the court to acknowledge receipt of the petition.

•When the acknowledgement of service has been filed by the respondent the petitioner can apply for a decree nisi. The decree nisi will take around 6-10 weeks from the time it is applied for.

•After 6 weeks from the date of decree nisi the petitioner can apply for a decree absolute. The decree absolute takes around 2 -4 weeks from the date it is applied for. It is usual to delay applying for the decree absolute until financial arrangements are finalised.

• An application for a financial remedy within the divorce can be made at anytime after the filing of the petition. A form A is used. However it is necessary in most cases to show the court first that mediation has been considered. This usually means you must first attend a meeting with a mediator to discuss using mediation. This is called a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) . This does not mean you must use mediation - but you must attend  the information meeting.

• Upon the issuing of the form A the court will make standard directions for the filing of documents and it will list the case for a directions  hearing as follows;

• approximately 8 weeks after the form A is filed forms e must be filed and exchanged.

•  3 weeks after the date for filing of forms e, a chronology, statement of issues, and any questionnaire are to be filed.

• 2 weeks after the above forms are due a directions hearing takes place at court. This is called a First Appointment.

• Following the First Appointment a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing takes place at Court. This is a without prejudice hearing designed to encourage settlement. The date of the FDR is dependent upon court availability and it will often be 3 - 4 months after the First Appointment.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Next Page