UK Divorce Law
UK Divorce Law
Our expert family lawyers and support staff are here to support and advise you through the process.
When you’re breaking up, you need someone who understands your requirements and is able to assist you with minimal stress.
DIVORCE SOLICITORS, HERE TO HELP YOU
Let’s get your divorce resolved!
Divorce is the process of ending a marriage with the word divorce meaning to “legally dissolves one’s marriage”. When considering divorce, there are issues that need to be considered and dealt with, including the division of assets, financial support and arrangements for any children of the marriage.
Because there are a lot of misinterpretations and misunderstandings about the law when it comes to divorce, it is essential to get the right legal support. Here at SLS Solicitors, we’ll tell you what you need to know if you are considering divorce or are about to get divorced. We’ll also guarantee that we have your best interest in all that we do.
News & Articles
The law has changed recently and has simplified the process by introducing a no-fault divorce. This removes the blame that was previously required in order to be granted a divorce.
Now, someone who wishes to petition for divorce only needs to show that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The previous divorce law required the petitioner in the divorce to rely on one of five facts to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The new law means, no one will need to worry about their partner contesting the divorce or dissolution and forcing them to go to court, saving time, stress, and costs.
There are four key stages in the divorce process.
These are as follows:
- Complete a divorce application as either a sole applicant or, as a couple, as joint applicants.
- Submit the application to a divorce centre either online or by post with the correct court fee – currently £593.00.
- Apply for a conditional order (once the application is acknowledged by your spouse and after a 20-week cooling-off period).
- Apply for a final order (6 weeks after you have the conditional order).
- However, the act of divorce itself does not end the financial relationship between you and your partner.
To separate your finances, you must reach a financial settlement, a legally binding decision on how assets and wealth will be split now that the marriage has ended.
Arrangements for children will need to be made if required, but these are also dealt with separately from the divorce.
The application can be made by one party alone or jointly with their spouse.
For a No-fault divorce, we only charge a fixed fee of £350.00 plus the court fee.
Legal separation is a legal procedure by which a married couple may formalise a de facto separation while remaining legally married. It lets you and your partner make formal decisions about things like your finances and living arrangements, but you’ll still remain married. You might want a legal separation if you can’t or don’t want to get divorce – for example:
You don’t want a divorce for religious or cultural reasons.
You have been married less than a year and cannot petition for divorce yet.
A legal ruling that erases a marriage by declaring the marriage null and void and that the union was never legally valid. However, even if the marriage is erased, the
marriage records remain on file. Note that a religious annulment is not a legal dissolution of a civil marriage. Examples of when marriage can be annulled include:
One of you was already married or in a civil partnership.
You didn’t properly agree to the marriage – for example, you were in the influence of alcohol or forced into it.
You have not consummated the marriage meaning haven’t had sex with your partner since the day you got married – this doesn’t apply to same-sex couples.
The marriage was incestuous.
WE OFFER A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH FURTHER ADVICE SET AT A FIXED FEE.
The first step is always the hardest. We offer a free first meeting to listen to your concerns and offer tailored advice. We can also assess your eligibility for Legal Aid, but unfortunately, we do not have a Legal Aid Franchise and therefore do not offer Legal Aid.
There’s no substitute for speaking to one of our specialist Family Solicitors to get rational, clear advice that will help you move forward.
For immediate assistance, call us or email us for a short initial discussion from which we can make an appointment to offer more detailed advice. A discussion is completely informal and confidential and is an opportunity for us to:
- Get to know you
- Understand your situation
- Advise on our packages and cost
- Agree how you want to proceed.
We offer affordable Divorce Packages.
As a Divorce Applicant
Up to a 20-minute consultation
FREE OF CHARGE
Simple Telephone Advice Only
Simple Advice in Writing
Advice and Support (DIY Application)
No Fault Divorce
As a Divorce Respondent
Up to a 20-minute consultation
FREE OF CHARGE
Simple Telephone Advice Only
Simple Advice in Writing
Advice and Support
No Fault Divorce
Compulsory Court Fees
The divorce Court will require you to pay standard government fees. These are currently £593.00, to include the fee for when the Divorce Petition is filed which gives you a ‘Conditional Order’ and the ‘Final Order’ when the divorce is completed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Provided the divorce is uncontested, the procedure is relatively straightforward. However, we strongly suggest that you receive the advice of a solicitor in relation to divorce proceedings, as incorrectly completed paperwork can lead to difficulties later on, particularly in relation to financial matters.
The court will not generally consider children or financial issues within divorce proceedings unless specifically requested to do so by either party. You will need to discuss with your solicitor whether any action, and what, needs to be taken in respect of children or financial matters.
Get a fair settlement after your divorce
Reaching an Agreement
If an agreement can be reached
If the parties can reach an agreement, then our expert lawyers can draft a Consent Order which will formalise the agreement and protect the party’s financial position in the future. A Consent Order must be carefully worded otherwise any potential financial claims between the parties can remain open, such as claims against inheritance or future windfalls.
If an agreement can’t be reached
In the even that an agreement cannot be reached then it will become necessary to issue court proceedings. The exchange of information now becomes a formal process. We can provide advice on how best to maximise your claim including advising on the benefits of obtaining expert valuations of your property or assets, pension actuary reports and advise on making offers, or conversely, when an offer is received.
If necessary, the case will progress to a final hearing where an order for division of finances will be made. We will make sure that your case is prepared to the highest level, and to ensure that you are in the best possible position to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Factors that need to be considered
The law sets out the criteria which must be taken into account when formulating financial settlements or making a final order. There are no hard and fast rules for the division of assets. The primary consideration of the Court is the welfare of any children. The Courts must also take into account, in respect of spouses and civil partners:
- Your income and earning capacity.
- your savings, your housing needs.
- Your pensions.
- The duration of the marriage or civil partnership.
- Your overall contributions.
- Your health and any other circumstances of the case.
- The court is required to balance the criteria when considering the claims of each of the partners.
Achieving a Fair Settlement
The court takes into account various factors when deciding what financial orders it should make.
Your assigned solicitor will know what these factors are and how it might impact on the decision.
If you are discussing a possible settlement with your ex partner and would like advice please call us on 0161 697 5958 or complete our Request a Call Back form and we call you back and give you general advice free of charge.
We listen, we care and we act fast to bring stability for you and your children.
Helping you get Child Arrangments right.
The key to getting arrangements right for your children is to put their needs first. This requires both parties to put aside their differences with one another, which can obviously be difficult, but should be done for the sake of your children.
We’re here to support you in coming to an agreement with your former partner to determine what is best for your children.
We are experienced in dealing with clients with child arrangement affairs and will make sure that their welfare will be of paramount consideration in any settlement.
Avoid court were possible
The first aim should be try and keep the matter out of the courts to avoid any further emotional distress for all involved. In order to do so you should consider the following questions:
- How much time do you have available to care for your children?
- Is your home close enough to your children’s school and their friends?
- What changes could occur as your children get older?
- If you and your ex partner are able to agree on some of these then it would greatly assist in reaching an agreement.
Full Help Given
Factors we’ll need to consider
We appreciate that it isn’t always possible to prevent childcare arrangement going to court, especially when emotions are running high. Should you be unable to reach an agreement, whatever you decide to do, we will be with you every step of the way, offering you honest, sound legal advice.
Pricing to fit all circumstances
Child arrangements shouldn’t cost the earth
Your legal fees will depend on the case itself. If a voluntary agreement can be reached without involving the court then that will keep the fees down. Fixed fees are also available depending on the circumstances of your case.
A non-molestation order can help if you or a child are suffering from domestic abuse
Don’t suffer in silence
We understand that it can seem quite daunting to make the call to a family law firm when dealing with personal family issues. This is especially relevant when issues such as domestic-abuse and molestation are the main causes of concern.
Here at SLS Solicitors, we’re a specialist Family Law team, and are approachable and discreet, taking the time to listen, really hear you and help you resolve family issues so that you can move forward.
Examples of ‘molestation’ are:
- Acts or threats of violence
- Use of abusive language
- Abusive messaging e.g. text messaging or social media messages
Our Family Law Solicitors can help you to apply for a Non-Molestation Order.
The applicant must be associated
To apply for a Non Molestation Order, the applicant must be able to show that they are ‘associated with the respondent’. This effectively means that
both the applicant and respondent must be or have been in a relationship, live together or have lived together or be related to each other.
For the purposes of a Non-Molestation Order, a relative is defined as any of the following:
- Parent/step parent
- Spouse/former spouse
- Civil partner/former civil partner
- First cousin
Children are Entitled to Protection
A related child
A related child is one that the respondent is the parent of, or has Parental Responsibility for. The Court will consider all of the circumstances and decide whether to grant a Non Molestation Order. The Court will prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of the applicant, in both physical and mental terms
Get protected from immediate danger.
An applicant must be able to demonstrate that protection is required. In cases where physical violence is alleged, it’s advisable that any incidents are reported to the police so that they can investigate the offence and to help prove the allegations by having a police record.
This is important as the respondent can be prosecuted under the criminal law in the first instance and the police have the evidence on their records, which could be invaluable to the Non Molestation Order proceedings.
What it does…
What a Non-Molestation Order does.
Typical examples of the conditions that the Court can grant in a Non Molestation Order include prohibiting the respondent from:
- Using or threatening violence
- Threatening or using abusive language towards the applicant
- Coming within 100m of the applicant’s home
- Sending any abusive messages or other communications to the applicant
- Communicating with the applicant in any way except through a Solicitor
We can advise and draft a prenuptial agreement.
Experts in Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement (often called a prenup) is a contract made between two parties before they marry. The prenup specifies an agreed settlement with regards to property and other assets should your marriage break down.
They are often regarded as simply a way for rich people to protect their assets when they marry, however that isn’t the only purpose of a prenuptial agreement. In fact, a prenuptial agreement can be a good way to start your marriage in a spirit of openness and honesty.
The overriding principle behind a prenuptial agreement is to help reduce or avoid any potential conflict over property and finances if the marriage were to break down.
There is a disparity in wealth between the parties. It’s common for one party to want a prenuptial agreement signed if they are entering the marriage with considerable more wealth than their partner. Without a prenup, their assets and finances may be split equally meaning the wealthier party would stand to lose more than the other party in the event of a divorce. Getting a prenup enables them to protect their assets and finances by agreeing a split that both parties are happy with.
Where there is a future inheritance for one party, safeguarding a future inheritance is one of the most common reasons for people wanting a prenup. If you are expecting to receive a future inheritance.
In addition top this, passing separate property to children from previous marriages, the prenuptial agreement can dictate the rights of any children from a previous marriage in regards to assets or finances should the marriage break down. The most common clause in this respect is for property owned before marriage.
One party has a business to protect. If one party owns a business, then this can be treated an asset which form part of the ‘matrimonial pot’. Having a prenup will enable the business to be placed outside of the ‘pot’ and safeguard not only their interests but those of other stakeholders and employees.
Prevent debts from becoming jointly owned. If your partner brings debt with them into the marriage, you can include a debt clause in the contract. The agreement doesn’t just protect you against existing debt, it can also help to protect against debt liability should either spouse build up debts during the course of the marriage.
Cohabitation & Separation Agreements
We can advise and draft your cohabitation and separation.
A cohabitation agreement (also known more commonly as a no-nup) is an agreement between partners who live together and want to set out each other’s rights in relation to property, children, and any other things that are important to you.
Experts in Cohabitation Agreements
A cohabitation and separation agreement ensures clarity and openness during the course of the relationship, and in the unfortunate event that it breaks down. A cohabitation agreement is recommended so that in the event you do cease living together it is clear who owns and has what.
While it might not seem like the most romantic thing to do when you decide to live together, in fact, drawing up a cohabitation agreement shows you care about fairness and a secure future for you and your partner. It means that in the event your relationship breaks down, you will both know exactly what you are entitled to in terms of finances and assets, as well as a range of other things that can cause conflict when a relationship ends.
Here at SLS Solicitors, we have a team of friendly advisors and experienced solicitors who are waiting to give you advice and get your cohabitation agreement drafted.
What’s Covered in a Cohabitation Agreement
A typical cohabitation agreement should cover things such as:
- The shares you both have in any property.
- How any shared businesses will be dealt with.
- How debts will be split and settled.
- How shared savings will be split.
- How mortgage and other property costs will be paid.
- How any property acquired during the relationship will be split.
- Who has custody of any family pets.
- How adjustments to pension schemes will be made.
- What temporary arrangements will be put in place while you deal with your separation.
A Separation Agreement
A separation agreement is a document that sets out how a separating couple wish deal with the separation process. It covers the arrangements for separating and the groundwork for a consent agreement. It includes how assets, such as property, will be divided, who will start divorce proceedings, and how the costs of these proceedings will be divided.
The agreement protects yourself if you and your partner decide to live separately before starting divorce or dissolution proceedings with a separation agreement. This straightforward separation contract contains everything needed to protect both parties through their separation proceedings, ensuring that both comply with the law. It can cover periodic payments during the separation, administration of the marital property, division of assets and funds, as well as the status of funds in joint bank accounts.
Why choose us?
We’re here to get your divorce sorted!
We understand that all situations differ – it’s not always a one-size-fits-all – so we make sure that we provide tailored advice and guidance to suit your individual needs.
We further dedicate you your own personal support staff to support you if and when needed.
To help, we offer:
- 20 minutes free consultation
- We offer a Simple telephone advice-only package.
- We offer a Simple Writing advice-only package.
- We offer advice and a support-only package (open for 7 days and you do the application yourself).
- Fixed fee packages
We provide expert family lawyers and a free dedicated personal support staff.
You only pay for the work done, not how long it takes us to do it.
Talk to our Family Law team today
Get in touch to find out how we can assist you. Give us a call today or fill in the form on this page to get started.
We’ll need to run through some details with you to make sure:
We are assigning the right lawyer to your case
Provide you with your Lawyer’s contact details
Book you an appointment to speak with them.
Start working on your case
This can then be via phone, video call, email, skype, or letter, whichever is easiest for you.