divorce law

If you have to make some life-changing decisions, it’s important to get the right advice as early as possible.

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Our divorce solicitors

Family is arguably the most important element of your life. But what if things go wrong?

Going to see a solicitor doesn’t have to be frightening or intimidating, often it can be the start of a new beginning, providing you with renewed strength. Our divorce solicitors deliver pragmatic, clear and expert advice with compassion, patience, and understanding to help guide you through the challenges of separation.

When the stakes are high, you need the most committed and experienced family specialists to skilfully navigate these delicate financial and personal issues.

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Which process is right for you?

When a marriage or relationship breaks down, it can be heart breaking and painful for all those involved. A breakup puts stress on you, your children, your finances, and even your job.

If you’re struggling to know which process is best for you, we can help you every step of the way. We will ensure that the legal jargon is translated into plain English, making it easier for you to understand which, in turn, will allow you to make informed decisions to secure your financial future.

  1. Divorce

    If communications with your partner are strained, and you simply can’t talk to each other any more, if you don’t trust your partner and believe they will try to take advantage of you, or if your partner is a bully and has a strong personality, and you are fearful that you cannot stand up for yourself, then the conventional approach to divorce may be the best route for you.

  2. Family mediation

    If you are going through an amicable separation, a family mediation settlement can be quicker and cheaper than going to court and minimises stress and conflict. It is used to work out mutually acceptable arrangements for the children, property, and finances.

    If you feel this is the most suitable route for you, we can refer your case to mediation, and support you through the process with the provision of appropriate legal advice and guidance. We will ensure that any potential terms of settlement reached in mediation are safe and appropriate, before incorporating the agreement reached in mediation into a binding agreement and court order for you.

  3. Collaborative law

    Collaborative law resolves the issues around divorce and separation without going to court. Both sides appoint a collaborative lawyer, with the four of you meeting to come to a mutually satisfactory solution together.

    Our skilled and specially trained collaborative law solicitors will help you decide how to move forward, paying particular attention to the interest of any children, and will draft an agreement which can be put into a court order.

  4. Ending a civil partnership

    It is often perceived that the ending of a civil partnership is distinctly different to the ending of a marriage, it isn’t as if couples in a civil partnership have the same rights as married couples.

    As with divorce proceedings, the dissolving of a civil partnership is a court process and, as with divorces, as of 6 April 2022, there is no longer a need to apportion blame for the breakdown of the civil partnership or to wait for a period of separation. It is sufficient to say that the civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.

  5. Separation Agreements

    Separation agreements are commonly seen as an alternative to divorce as they do not end the marriage. They are frequently used where the parties have been married for less than one year and so cannot issue divorce proceedings.

    They are also used when the separating parties remained on amicable terms and wish to record an agreement in respect of the division of the finances without having to immediately commence divorce proceedings. This, under the “old” law, would likely have necessitated apportioning blame on one of the parties for the breakdown in the marriage.

    The agreement usually sets out the financial arrangements during the period of separation usually on the basis of how the couple's finances should be divided in the event of a subsequent divorce or dissolution.

    If you do wish to consider this option, then it is imperative that you seek specialist advice.

  6. Financial settlements

    When a marriage breaks down, most people’s immediate attention turns to whether they will financially be able to survive a break-up of the family assets and whether they will have sufficient funds to be able to house themselves and meet their monthly bills and needs in retirement.

    We appreciate how daunting it is to start unravelling financial matters, particularly when the assets are complex. However, you can rest assured that with decades of experience dealing with extremely complex cases, our specialist finance solicitors will be able to cater for your every need, ensuring that you achieve a financial settlement that will secure your financial future.

    We appreciate and understand that no two families are the same and that a one-size-fits-all approach will rarely provide a satisfactory outcome. Our divorce solicitors work with you and your other professional advisers to ensure that no stone is left unturned.

  7. Private children matters

    It was once said that co-parenting is not a competition. It’s a collaboration of two homes working together with the best interest of the child at heart. Unfortunately, there are occasions when this sentiment becomes lost and disputes may arise about who and where a child will live, and how much time they will spend with a parent or other person with whom they do not live.

    If these arrangements cannot be agreed on, whether through correspondence or mediation then it may be necessary to apply to the court for orders deciding these issues.

    Our divorce solicitors will ensure that your children are at the heart of our advice and will provide effective solutions to support you and your family.

  8. Armed forces

    Looking after military and other public sector personnel is a particular strength of our firm, and we have a national reputation for advising in divorce and family matters which requires specific knowledge of pensions and more.

    Case study

What are the grounds for divorce?

As of 6th April 2022, there are no grounds for divorce. This is when the biggest shake-up of divorce law seen for decades came into effect. It means that a divorce can be granted without having to blame either party in a marriage or civil partnership or without having to wait until you have been separated for a period of at least two years.

Until this date, divorce had to be supported by one of five evidential grounds: adultery; unreasonable behaviour; desertion; two-year separation with both sides giving their consent, or five years separation.

Whilst the new rules will certainly ensure that divorces are commenced on more amicable grounds, our divorce solicitors have always prided ourselves on taking a pragmatic, non-adversarial approach to the commencement of divorce proceedings, in any event, ensuring that conflict between divorcing couples is kept to an absolute minimum.

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Divorce frequently asked questions

Problems can seem unsurmountable, with uncertain or potentially devastating outcomes, but we’ve got your back.

You are at the heart of our efforts, and we are here to help you write the next chapter. Here are some answers to questions you may have during this time.

  1. How long do divorce proceedings take?

    Divorce is not a quick process. The introduction of the ‘No Fault’ based divorce on 6 April 2022 has also brought with it a 20-week “cooling off” period from the date the application is issued until the applicant to the proceedings can progress the divorce.

    As such, it can take at least six-eight months and your particular circumstances are significant factors in the timeframe. However, we’re with you every step of the way, advising you on ways to minimise upheaval and pressure on you or other family members, concluding the matter as swiftly as possible.

  2. Will I have to go to court?

    More than 80 per cent of cases we deal with are resolved without ever having to step foot in a courtroom.

    For most, concluding a family dispute through new less confrontational methods is preferable. See family mediation and collaborative law above.

  3. Can I get a ‘quickie’ divorce?

    Parting couples may have their heads turned by a growing number of companies, purporting to offer ‘quickie divorces’ – which may imply there is an alternative to the normal court route.

    That is not the case. It is important to remember that the decision for any couple to divorce is just the start of what can be a lengthy process, which needs handling with compassion, care, and detail.

  4. How much does it cost to divorce?

    A fixed fee divorce, (or uncontested divorce) is not a ‘divorce on the cheap’, or a ‘quickie divorce’.

    You still receive the same high-quality legal advice and service. However, as it is uncontested, this means we can guarantee how much it will cost you.

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Submit an enquiry and one of our team of experts will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your needs.

Or call the family team on 01522 515946

James Marsden, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Partner & Head of Family James Marsden 01482 398381 Beverley
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