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Divorce and Separation

Making the decision to divorce is not taken lightly. It can change your life and that of your children forever. Our solicitors have decades of experience helping clients make the right choices through this difficult time, to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.

Sadly, the divorce rate is on the rise in the UK. Couples remaining in their homes for long periods due to coronavirus has exposed frailties in relationships which during better times couples might have considered to be insignificant. Small things can escalate quickly and before you know it, both parties have instructed solicitors.

If you choose to instruct us, we will lead you through the divorce process in a calm, professional manner, providing you with the fullest information and best advice possible. From starting out, to handling any court hearings and dealing with the forms and paperwork, we are there with you every step of the way.

Divorces are often played out in the media as protracted courtroom battles, with parties seeking to extract as much blood as possible from the other. Whilst this does sometimes happen, the best outcome is usually reached when both parties come together, accept that the divorce is happening and seek to resolve any issues sensibly.

Starting a divorce

In order for the court to grant a divorce in the UK, it must be proven that the marriage has broken down to a point at which reconciliation is impossible. There are 5 possible reasons that can be given for a marriage breakdown:-

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
    This behaviour could include physical or mental cruelty, verbal or physical abuse or being financially irresponsible.
  3. Desertion
    This arises when your spouse walks out in order to end the relationship. In order to claim desertion, they have to have been absent for more than 2 years in the last 2.5 years.
  4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years
    If both parties agree to end the marriage, a divorce is likely to be granted.
  5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years
    This is usually enough to end a marriage even if one party objects.

What if nobody is at fault?

Unfortunately “none of the above” is not a valid reason for divorce in the UK. One of the parties has to apply for the divorce and the other has to be declared at fault in order for a divorce to be granted.

Whilst the introduction of a “no fault” divorce is something that many senior legal figures are pushing for, it remains that a couple that has grown apart and wishes to split amicably must still declare someone at faults. It is common to see unreasonable behaviour cited as the legal basis, even if there hasn’t been any.

Who gets what in a divorce

We recognise the impact that a divorce can have on your life. This includes your financial and property arrangements, as well as arrangements for any children you have. There may be assets to divide up and joint mortgages to sort out. It seems quite obvious that property, vehicles, capital and valuables should be divided up, but what about the family dog?

There will be decisions to make with regard to your family home; one party may want to stay there so there may be an arrangement to be made. We can assist with all of these negotiations in order to obtain the best settlement for you.

What happens to the children in a divorce?

Children can be psychologically traumatised by divorce, but they can also be traumatised by parents that are constantly at war. If a divorce is going ahead, it is important to minimise the effect of the divorce on the children and prioritise their interests.

In most divorce cases, children will live with one parent and access (or contact) will be given to the other parent. Ultimately this depends on the circumstances though.

What if the parents can’t agree to terms of divorce?

Sometimes one or both parties in a divorce are unreasonable and make ridiculous demands of the other. If matters cannot be agreed out of court, then you go to court and have the terms of your divorce and arrangements for children settled by a judge.

With the benefit of experience, our divorce solicitors usually have a good idea what decision a judge will make, so we will use this knowledge to steer you in the right direction in the hope of avoiding costly protracted court proceedings.