If you are facing separation or divorce, we are here for you.
The decisions you make when dealing with the breakdown of your relationship can impact greatly on your family and financial situation, affecting the rest of your life. Our divorce solicitors are here to offer advice on all aspects of separation and divorce, including issues surrounding finances and children.
We will discuss the options with you and tailor our advice to achieve the best outcome for you and your family.
We are transparent in our costs and will give you a bespoke cost estimate at the start and keep you updated as the case proceeds.
Our team of divorce lawyers are all members of Resolution, a group that promotes a non-confrontational approach to resolving family disputes.
We will guide you through the practical and legal considerations of the separation or divorce process, helping you reach a fair settlement. Contact us to chat with one of our lawyers.
We have divorce lawyers across Dorset and Somerset. Our offices are based in Bridport, Dorchester, Sherborne, Taunton, Wellington and Yeovil. However, we can help you no matter your location in England and can carry out your work by post, phone or email.
There is only one ground for divorce, that is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Following the implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 6 April 2022, you no longer have to prove fault.
To apply for a divorce in England and Wales, you must have been married for at least one year. Also, one of you must have lived in England or Wales during the whole of the year before or be domiciled there.
The divorce process involves five stages:
You remain married to your spouse until the final order is granted.
Financial matters are dealt with separately to the divorce itself. You can sort these out yourselves, using a lawyer, or using the court if no agreement can be reached via financial proceedings.
You will need to sort out arrangements for maintenance payments and/or how assets are to be divided. It should be remembered that assets take many forms, including pensions, which are often overlooked in divorce.
Once you have reached an agreement about the division of your finances, it is important to have that agreement made into a consent or financial order to ensure that it is legally binding.
Even if you have reached an amicable agreement about who should have what, or you do not currently have many financial resources, it is important to get a clean break order. Until there is an order dismissing any future potential claims that either of you may have against the other, potential claims remain open.
Contrary to what appears in the media, there is no such thing as a “quickie divorce”.
Although there are only now exceptional circumstances to resist a divorce, no-fault divorce procedure builds in a 20-week period of reflection. This is between the date of the application and the date of what is now called the conditional order (formerly decree nisi). There's a further wait of 6 weeks and 1 day before the final order (formerly decree absolute) can be granted. Therefore, the majority of divorcing couples will find that it takes a minimum of 26 weeks from start to finish of the application.
Negotiations over financial arrangements may make the divorce process longer. You can get divorced before you reach an agreement over finances, although it is preferable, and often important, to reach a financial settlement before the final order is granted.
Divorce costs are dependent on the individual circumstances of each case and the amount of advice that is needed to negotiate a settlement, including resolving financial matters and child arrangements. If your divorce is complicated, if you both cannot reach an agreement, or if you have to go to court, this can incur higher costs.
The minimum amount that needs to be paid to get a divorce in England and Wales is currently £593 for court fees (2023). The applicant is required to pay this fee to apply for a divorce. The applicant can be one person applying for the divorce or both parties making a joint application, as they now may.
The short answer is no. In almost every case, divorce procedure will be dealt with online through the court digital portal and will not require anyone to attend court.
Financial matters and child arrangements are dealt with separately to the divorce. If there are any disagreements regarding either of these, you may need to go to court to resolve them.
If you cannot reach decisions together, providing you and your spouse agree, you can try mediation or collaborative law. The two are designed to be alternative methods of resolving issues, allowing you both to work together amicably to reach a joint decision without the intervention of the court.
Whilst you can get a divorce without the need of a solicitor, the risks of not using an expert, and instead choosing a Do It Yourself divorce, can be very high. Any decisions could end up affecting you for the rest of your lifetime, especially in the case of dividing assets and child arrangements.
Instead of focussing on the many negative emotions you might be feeling and acting on those, the best option is to focus on the future to achieve the best outcome for both yourself and any children you may have. Try to make sure that you continue to communicate with your spouse during the divorce process to help keep the process as simple and as stress-free as possible.
There are two ways to bring an end to a marriage: divorce or annulment.
Alternatively, there is the option of judicial separation, although this does not legally bring an end to a marriage. Reasons for a party seeking this rather than a divorce include one or both of them having religious beliefs or the parties not having been married for the requisite one year required for a divorce. Very occasionally there may be good financial reasons to apply for a judicial separation rather than a divorce.
Once you are divorced, unfortunately, the paperwork does not finish there. There are still practical steps you need to consider. These include ensuring that you have reached a financial settlement with your spouse and implemented the terms of that agreement, or if not an agreement, the order of the court.
It would be worthwhile creating a post-divorce checklist to look at things you need to do. Your checklist could include things like updating your will, transferring ownership of your home, or cancelling joint accounts.
It may seem overwhelming but just remember to tackle one task at a time. Also, try to give yourself a deadline for completing your checklist so that you can officially move on and start the new chapter in your life.