Divorce and Separation
Relationship breakdowns may be a fact of life, but that does not lessen the emotional and practical challenges that they present. The key to getting through is to find the right people to help you.
Divorce lawyers at Chattertons are among the most experienced around. We deal with straightforward divorces, through to the more complex cases involving issues of domestic abuse, large and diverse estates, or an international element. Each situation and each client is different; we never lose sight of that. And our experience in handling the legal aspects of all sorts of family breakdowns means that we offer the truly valuable advice, guidance, and reassurance that clients depend on.
If you have received a divorce petition, or you are thinking of beginning the process yourself, talk to us. Our divorce solicitors will explain the next steps, and discuss with you the potential and likely consequences of unpicking the family ties - including dividing assets and liabilities, and agreeing arrangements for the future care of your children.
This early advice can set things off on the right footing. It is important to understand what divorce will mean for you and for other family members, and to have a clear idea about what will be required of you during the divorce process. Our divorce lawyers will guide you through all of this, and will be by your side as you go through your divorce. With our help, you will be able to move on - on the best possible terms.
Clients often ask us.....
How much will my divorce cost?
The court fee for divorce is £550. Our fees will be in addition to that. How much those fees will be depends on the how complicated your situation is, and what is needed in order to achieve the right outcome for you.
In most cases we will be able to offer a fixed fee divorce, which means that we will agree with you an all-in cost covering the entire process. In others, where there may be complications and difficulties in predicting how things will go, we will give you an indication of likely cost at the outset and keep you updated regularly on the work that is needed and our fee for doing it.
How long will my divorce take?
Each case is different, but you should prepare for things to take up to six months. It could take longer, depending on the issues involved and on the level of cooperation given by your ex-partner. A good divorce lawyer will keep the momentum up and not allow the process to drag. They will also tell you about the likely timescale at the outset and as the case progresses.
Can any married person get divorced?
You must have been married for at least 12 months before becoming eligible to divorce. You also need to be able to show that you have proper grounds for divorce. These are:
- Adultery – your husband or wife has had sex with someone else of the opposite sex. This will not be a valid ground for divorce if, after having found out about the adultery, you carried on living with your partner as a couple for six months or more; or
- Unreasonable behavior. This could include physical violence, verbal abuse, or even the fact that you do not spend enough time together; or
- Desertion – your husband or wife has left you, without your agreement and without good reason, to end your relationship. They must have been gone for at least two years in the last two and a half years; or
- You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to getting divorced ; or
- You have lived apart for at least five years. You husband or wife’s consent to divorce is not needed in this situation; you can apply for divorce even if they do not agree to it.
Each of those reasons can demonstrate an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. And that is what is needed in order for a court to allow you to divorce.
Who decides who gets what?
The starting point is that it is for you and your husband/wife to agree how you will divide your assets and liabilities. We recognise that that may not always be possible. If you are unable to reach agreement between yourselves (with the help of your divorce lawyer), a mediator may be able to work with you to achieve this. If that fails, the necessary decisions will have to be made by a judge in court.
What will happen to our children?
Children come first in divorce; they must be your priority. It is for you and your husband/wife to agree where your children should live and when and how they should spend time with their other parent. In difficult cases, or where agreement cannot be reached, the courts will put the arrangements in place, in your children’s best interests.
Will I be able to stay in the family home?
Maybe. Again, it is for you and your partner to try and reach agreement on this as part of the allocation of assets. It is usual, where finances allow, for the parent who has sole custody of any children of the relationship to carry on living in the family home. But you should not assume that that will happen; other arrangements could be put in place. For example, you and your husband or wife could agree to sell the family home, split the proceeds of sale, and each buy a new house. Your divorce solicitor will be able to discuss the options for this, and all other aspects of the separation, with you.