If your marriage has broken down and you are facing divorce, you may feel upset, angry and anxious about the future. Getting divorced is a huge moment in anyone’s life so it’s important to take expert advice from an experienced team of family lawyers who can help ensure you get the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Divorce means difficult decisions on a range of matters such as access to children and the future of your business and financial assets. We can help to make sure that your best interests are taken into account during divorce proceedings, looking at your needs now but also in the future.
Our divorce solicitors can advise on suitable grounds for divorce and, if possible, work to achieve an amicable settlement without the need to go to court. Out-of-court divorce services we offer include:
- Collaborative divorce
As well as being skilled negotiators, we have qualified mediators, collaborative lawyers and arbitrators who can work with you and your partner to agree a satisfactory outcome for both of you. Of course if an amicable settlement is not possible, we will support you through any court appearances and fight to protect your best interests.
We have particular experience in complex cases involving significant wealth, business interests and international elements. If you hold assets overseas, or you or your partner now live abroad, we can help you negotiate the added difficulty this can cause. You can rely on us to work diligently through any complex issues that arise in your case.
As pioneers in the legal sector, work by our leading lawyers has changed family law. In October 2015, we helped two women to challenge their divorce settlements at the Supreme Court, on the basis that their husbands had been dishonest about their financial circumstances. This successful challenge led to a change in the law.
If you would like to talk to us, in confidence, about how we can help with your divorce, please call us 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 Is The Process?
There are seven stages to the divorce process:
- 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
- The court sends the divorce documents to the Respondent
- 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 jurisdiction?'
- 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
- The court sends out a Certificate of Entitlement confirming the date on which decree nisi will be pronounced
- The court grants the decree nisi and sends a copy to both of your solicitors
- 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.
See our Guide To The Divorce Process for more details of these stages.
How Long Does It Take?
How long it takes to process your divorce depends on a number of factors. If you are able to quickly come to an agreement with your partner without having to go to court, 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.