Know Your Rights
Are you in an abusive relationship (mentally or physically) or thinking of getting a divorce? Your rights are protected under British law and you are not legally obliged to follow any Sharia Tribunal or Council ruling.
Here’s what you should do first:
a) Collect your passport, copies of your marriage certificate, and details/passports of any children involved.
What you need to prove in order to get a divorce:
You must satisfy the court that one or more of the following is true:
a) Your husband has committed adultery (had sexual intercourse with a person other than yourself);
b) Your husband has behaved so badly that you can not reasonably be expected to live with him. For example, your husband has been violent towards you or regularly upsets you;
c) Your husband has left you and this was more than two years ago;
d) You have been separated from your husband for more than two years and he consents to a divorce;
e) You have been separated from your husband for more than five years;
But what if you have children?
The Children Act 1989 sets out a welfare checklist, which contains factors that the court must consider when deciding who gets to keep the children. These factors include:
a) The wishes and feelings of the child concerned;
b) Their physical, emotional, and educational needs;
c) The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances;
d) The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics which the court considers relevant;
e) Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
For all proceedings under the Children Act 1989 when the court considers a question of the child’s upbringing, the child’s welfare is the court’s main consideration.
Are you worried that your husband might take the children out of the country?
There is a court order which prevents anyone changing the surname of, or removing from the UK (for more than 1 month), any child who is the subject of this order, without the agreement of the other parent. This is known as a residence order.
What if you don’t have children and simply want a divorce, what are you entitled to?
The court would look at all your circumstances and would not grant the husband sole rights over the matrimonial property and assets. If you are married, you will have automatic rights in the matrimonial home, and may be allowed to continue living there. However, it is strongly advisable that you register your interest in any property you share with your husband or partner (especially if you are not married in accordance with British civil law) in order to secure your share. Even if the property is only in one name, you can make sure that it cannot be sold or have further charges placed on it. Visit the Land Registry website: www.landregistry.gov.uk or you can seek advice from a solicitor or a local Citizens’ Advice Bureau. You can find a Citizens’ Advice Bureau near you by visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Is your partner violent towards you or your children? You can get an injunction to protect you and your family:
Non-Molestation Orders can be granted to stop physical assault – punching, slapping, kicking, pushing, spitting etc or other sorts of intimidating and upsetting behaviour such as abusive telephone calls or threats. Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence.
Occupation Orders require the abuser to keep away from your home, or to allow you to occupy your home without being threatened, harassed or assaulted. This includes requiring him to allow you to re-enter your home if you have been excluded from it. This type of injunction can include a power of arrest.