0345 604 4911

Divorce & Family Law Solicitors

"Fantastic: enthusiastic and compassionate"

Chambers & Partners, 2017

"Fantastic: enthusiastic and compassionate"

Chambers & Partners, 2017
What do you want to do?
How we can help

If your marriage has broken down, you’ll be looking for a team of legal experts to help you achieve the best resolution for you and your family. Our highly regarded family law solicitors have decades of experience in helping people resolve issues around finances, children, property, business interests and all of the other complications that come with a divorce.

As well as divorce, our solicitors can also help with a wide range of other family law issues, including:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Civil partnership dissolution and same-sex marriage
  • Child abduction
  • Child arrangements following divorce
  • Domestic violence cases
  • Cohabitation agreements for unmarried couples

Because we’ve helped tens of thousands of clients with family law issues, we understand what you’ll be going through and can help guide you through the process, giving you advice you can trust and peace of mind. It's because of this that independent legal guides Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 recognise us as having one of the UK's leading family law teams.

Whatever your legal needs, our family lawyers are on hand to support you and will fight to protect your best interests. Our team includes expert negotiators, able to help you to find an agreement that suits everyone, keeping disputes out of court where possible. We take the time to understand each case and tailor our service to your specific needs, while also providing a clear cost breakdown, step by step.

We have a wide network of offices across the UK with lawyers who are leaders in their field. We have experience of taking cases all the way to the Supreme Court so if you have particularly complex or difficult circumstances, you can rely on us not to give up and to fight to get the resolution you need.

For a consultation with one of our family law solicitors, call us on 0345 604 4911, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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  • Ros Bever
  • National Head of Family Law
Meet the team
Martin Loxley
Martin Loxley Sheffield

"Absolutely fantastic", "nationally known, pragmatic, and a hard negotiator."

Legal 500, 2016

What The Experts Say About Our Team

Elizabeth Hicks London

Chambers & Partners, 2017 logo"Formidable... bats at the very highest level... she is absolutely first-rate and completely unflappable."

Chambers & Partners, 2017
Divorce & Family More Information
    • How Long Does It Take To Divorce?
    • How long it takes to process your divorce depends on a number of factors. If you are able to quickly come to terms with your partner without having to go to court, it is possible that the whole process could be completed inside 6 months. However, if you find it difficult to reach an agreement, have a lot of issues to resolve, or need to have things put before a court, it can take much longer - sometimes up to 2 years.

      Every case is different, so to get an idea of how long your divorce might take it is important to get expert advice. We can give you an estimate of how long it will take at our first consultation. To set one up, call us today on 0345 604 4911 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

    • What Are The Grounds For Divorce?
    • There is only one ground for divorce: an 'irretrievable breakdown of the marriage'. This is proved by any one of five facts:

      • Unreasonable behaviour – Conduct by you or your partner deemed sufficient to cause the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage
      • Adultery – Defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse
      • Living apart for two years (and both partners agree to the divorce)
      • Living apart for five years
      • Desertion for at least two years – Desertion takes place when one partner leaves the other without their knowledge or agreement.

      Usually, the grounds for divorce and the guilt of either party won't have an impact on your financial settlement or the arrangements made for you children, but this is decided on a case-by-case basis.

    • What's The Process?
    • There are seven stages to the divorce process:

      1. A divorce petition must be filed with a court by you or your partner. Whoever does this is known as the Petitioner, with the other party referred to as the Respondent
      2. The court sends the divorce documents to the Respondent
      3. The Respondent files an Acknowledgement of Service – this includes answering questions such as 'do you intend to defend the case?' and 'do you agree with the ground for divorce?'
      4. The Petitioner applies for decree nisi - an order by a court stating the date on which a marriage can end, unless a good reason not to grant the divorce is produced
      5. The court sends out a Certificate of Entitlement confirming when decree nisi will be pronounced
      6. The court grants the decree nisi and sends a copy to both of your solicitors
      7. The Petitioner applies for a decree absolute after six weeks and one day has passed from decree nisi being granted. This decree is a final order from the court that officially ends the marriage, allowing each party to remarry. The Petitioner can delay in making the application for example if financial arrangements have not yet been finalised.

      More details of these stages can be found in our Guide To The Divorce Process.

      The divorce process differs depending on how you and your partner respond to each other's demands, and particularly if the Respondent indicates they are going to defend the divorce. If steps are contested, the process can be slowed down.

      You can agree your financial settlement with your partner whenever you want, but getting it legally formalised with a Financial Consent Order cannot be done before the decree nisi is pronounced. It may then be decided that you should not apply for a decree absolute until you have reached a financial settlement with your partner, but that is not always the case.

      Childcare arrangements are usually negotiated throughout the process.

      Our legal team can help guide you through this process, explaining things in plain English so you always know where you stand and what your options are. For more advice on the divorce process or any aspect of family law, call us on 0345 604 4911 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.



    • Will I Have To Go To Court
    • You may have to go to court if you can’t come to an agreement with your partner, but you are both required to try and reach an agreement over the arrangements for your children's care and financial arrangements before taking the case to court.

      We can help you and your partner try to reach an agreement, if necessary with the use of our trained mediators, who can help you and your partner discuss your situation in a transparent and constructive way. We can also provide you with access to family therapists and counselling services for extra support.

      Out-of-court agreements are typically cheaper and quicker than going to court, which can make them less stressful for all involved - an important consideration where children are concerned.

      If none of the out-of-court processes work, we will ensure you have the best legal representation in court. Our solicitors will be open and honest about the likely outcome, and will fight to protect your best interests. We will ensure you are well prepared for any appearances, and will be at your side throughout.

      As one of the UK's leading family law firms, our solicitors have dealt with many different types of cases, so no matter how complicated your situation is, we can offer you clear advice that comes from years of experience.

      For advice or a consultation on your case, call us 0345 604 4911 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are My Options For Divorce?

If you wish to divorce your partner, there are a range of options that can secure a divorce without going to court. These include:

  • Collaborative divorce
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Negotiation

Collaborative divorce means you and your partner work together to settle the terms of your divorce in the presence of legal representatives. If you still have an amicable relationship and are able to co-operate, this can be a quick and less stressful way to agree financial matters and child access arrangements.

Mediation involves a third party acting as an intermediary between you and your partner, guiding discussions and helping you to reach an agreement about your divorce.

It can take different forms and does not necessarily mean you and your partner have to be in the same room. Mediation can often help establish a respectful and civilised relationship - especially beneficial if there are children involved.

Negotiations can take place between your solicitor and your partner’s solicitor to try to reach an agreement without court proceedings being started.

There are two important things to remember when you consider the above services: typically, each of these services will be cheaper and quicker at resolving your issues than going to court, and if you try any of these services and they do not provide a satisfactory result to you or your partner, you can still take your case to court.

Arbitration can now be used for matters involving children as well as for financial matters. It can be a good solution for keeping a case out of court. A legal-specialist third party is nominated to consider submissions from your legal team and your partners, before deciding on the terms of the divorce.

It is very unusual for a court not to uphold an arbitrator’s decision so unlike other forms of our of court process, you should expect to be bound by the decision of a third party rather than reaching your own agreement. It is usually quicker and more flexible than going to court.

Our expert legal team are highly experienced in representing people in mediation, arbitration and collaborative divorces, as well as in court-led divorces. They are highly skilled negotiators and can also act as mediators or arbitrators in these processes.

To find out more about these options and how we can help, call us on 0345 604 4911, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


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What Recent Cases Have You Been Involved In?

Our specialist family law solicitors have decades of experience, leading you through every stage of the legal process and explaining what is happening and what to expect. We have considerable expertise in complex, high-profile divorce cases, including:

  • Successfully representing two women in the Supreme Court whose husbands had been dishonest about their wealth during the initial divorce proceedings. This 2015 case was the first time in a generation that the UK's highest court has heard cases on the issue of non-disclosure in divorce proceedings – find out more about these cases.
  • Winning a legal battle in the Court of Appeal in 2016 for a woman who discovered her deceased partner had hidden millions of pounds of assets during the breakdown of their civil partnership – find out more about the case.
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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

With decades of experience in family law, choosing us means choosing experts in the field who are committed to getting you the best possible outcome, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We'll talk through every option you have for your divorce, and advise you on what your best options may be. We want to secure the right outcomes for our clients, not prolong cases unnecessarily.

Independent legal guides Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners have declared us one of the UK's leading family law teams, and in 2016 we were shortlisted for the 'Family Team of the Year' award at the Solicitors Journal Awards.

Although we have an extensive network of UK offices and consider ourselves a national law firm, we pride ourselves on delivering a personal, one-to-one service, tailored to your needs, wherever you are based. That includes mediation, arbitration and collaborative law services, while we can also provide access to counselling services if you need them.

Our team is here to help you in any way it can, so please call us today on 0345 604 4911, or contact us online, for an initial consultation on your case.

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