Ipswich - 01473 213311
Colchester - 01206 584584
Felixstowe - 01394 834557

Divorce and Separation Lawyers

Divorce Lawyers

We understand that the breakdown of a marriage or a civil partnership is a highly stressful and emotional time. If you need to talk to a solicitor about a divorce, or how to dissolve a civil partnership, we would be happy to help and advise you at any point throughout the process. Talking to an experienced solicitor can be invaluable, providing reliable and practical advice and support at a difficult time.

What is a divorce?

Divorce is the legal process that dissolves a marriage. Once the divorce is finalised, you are no longer married.

What is a dissolution?

The dissolution of a civil partnership works in the same way as divorce proceedings in bringing the civil partnership to an end legally.

How do I get a divorce/dissolution?

 “No Fault Divorce” came into force in April 2022 meaning that  couples can now issue proceedings using the “no fault” divorce/dissolution process. There is no longer a requirement cite fault or wait a minimum of 2 years before you can issue proceedings. The process is still at least 26 weeks long from inception through to completing the divorce/dissolution although this usually takes longer if there are financial issues to resolves.

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No-Fault Divorce

Learn how a no-fault divorce could work when the decision to separate is a mutual one.

How much is a Divorce? No Fault Divorce or Dissolution of a civil partnership  is £385 plus VAT plus the court fee.

Has anything else changed?

Archaic Latin terms such as “Decree Nisi” and “Decree Absolute” have been replaced with “conditional order” and “final order”. Petitioners are now called “applicants” and if both parties are making a joint application, they will be known as applicant 1 and applicant 2.

What Else You Need to Know

How do I start divorce proceedings?

To start the divorce or the dissolution of the civil partnership, a petition has to be completed and issued by the court. The fee to start proceedings is currently £593 unless you are eligible for a fee remission (an application has to be made for this). This means you may not have to pay all or part of the court fee.

What happens if there are children?

The court no longer needs to know what arrangements have been made for the children of the family. If there is an issue over the arrangements for the children, parents are expected to resolve these themselves. Preferably any problems will be resolved without the use of court, for example through mediation, but the court can be used when no other option is available.

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What else do I need to consider?

Family breakdown is rarely limited to divorce, and the emotional and financial needs of the children and the parties need to be considered. Further details are provided in the Children, and Financial Settlement section.

Visit the Financial Settlement page

Are you open on Saturdays?

At Kerseys we understand not everyone is available between 9-5 Monday to Friday which is why we adopt a more flexible approach. Pre booked appointments can be arranged for after-hours.

Our family lawyers are all set up to work from home, so we are no longer constrained by appointments having to take place in the office between 9-5. We now offer appointments over the telephone and also via a number of video platforms. This added flexibility, means that your family lawyer can be on hand to help you at any time convenient to you.

If you are a member of the Police Federation, we offer:

1. FREE initial consultation at a day and time convenient to you, even after hours or at weekends

2. 10% off our fees for the duration of the matter (this offer also extends to our Residential Property department).

What is a legal separation (often referred to as Judicial Separation)?

A judicial separation is a formal separation which is sanctioned by the court. It enables the court to make orders about the division of money and property, similar to the orders which can be made on divorce, without actually terminating the marriage.

What are legal proceedings?

Legal Proceedings are court based applications such as divorce, finances, children arrangements as well as Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act applications which cover unmarried couples with property disputes.

Is a name change legal?

Yes, as long as it is correctly undertaken. We offer a Change of Name Deed service. If seeking to change a forename or surname of a child, both parents need to consent. Where consent is not given, a court application can be made to deal with this specific issue.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legal?

Pre and post nuptial agreements are yet to “bind” courts to their content should they be disputed. However there has been a raft of case law since the leading case of Radmacher in 2009 in which Courts are now attaching significant weight to their existence as long as the criteria for their formulation has been strictly adhered to. Ultimately however, a court will always consider the content of such an agreement when deciding financial relief cases.

The way we work

Fair, acceptable settlement through negotiation is always the preferred solution, to save you stress and expense. If that’s not possible, then we will fight your case strongly through the courts.

We encourage you to gather as much relevant information and documentation as you can, in order to lessen your costs. Our initial advice will include assessing whether you can handle the case, or elements of it, yourself. It’s another potential way you can contain expense.

We prefer to give you a firm quotation of costs upfront. If that isn’t possible in your case, we will explain why.

Do you offer a free or fixed fee appointment?

Where applicable we offer a 45 minute fixed fee appointment in which we will provide you with bespoke legal advice which includes setting out your options on how to move forward. We have two fixed fee options.

(1) If you require a face to face appointment our fee is £212.50 plus VAT (£255.00 in total) .

(2) If you require a Zoom/telephone appointment our fee is £192.50 plus VAT (£231.00 in total). Both options also include within the price the fee for Anti Money Laundering checks we have to perform. The fixed fee is payable in advance of the meeting. However, don’t worry if your meeting runs over, you will not be charged any additional fee.

Other Responsibilities to Consider


Parental Responsibility

Financial Settlement


Collaborative Law

Family Arbitration

When a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, parents are not always able to reach agreement about issues such as who the children will live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent.


‘Parental Responsibility’ is a legal concept commonly referred to when a disagreement over the arrangements for children has arisen. Parental Responsibility is ‘the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his/her property’.

Parental Responsibility

Reaching a financial settlement is often the most difficult issue to resolve when a marriage breaks down. The settlement reached can determine your long term financial position.

Financial Settlement

Family mediation is a process where a Mediator supports and helps you and family members to communicate more effectively and to find consensual resolution during times of dispute.


Collaborative Law is a form of alternative dispute resolution for family issues such as divorce, finances and children arrangements. A settlement is reached in a non-confrontational way and without court involvement.

Collaborative Law

Family arbitration is a form of private dispute resolution in which the parties enter into an agreement under which they appoint a suitably qualified person (an “arbitrator”) to adjudicate a dispute and make an award.

Family Arbitration

Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce FAQs

Q. Can I get a divorce?
A. The answer is yes, if you have come to the decision your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you have been married for a year or longer. You cannot issue proceedings beforehand unless you believe your marriage is invalid or void.

Q. How long do I have to wait to get a divorce once my marriage has broken down?
Proceedings are issued using the “no fault” divorce process where there will not be the requirement to cite fault or wait a minimum of 2 years before you can issue proceedings. The process is at least 26 weeks long from inception through to completing the divorce although this usually takes longer if there are financial issues to resolve.

Q. Can my spouse defend the divorce?
A. Under the new process “no fault divorce” you can no longer defend a petition.

Q. Can I still seek costs
A. Yes, you can still seek costs from the other party but it is preferable to try to agree how the divorce proceedings will be paid and what contribution you both want to make to the process.

Q. When I get my Decree Absolute am I divorced?
A. The term Decree Absolute has been replaced by Final Divorce Order. It is the same as Decree Absolute and will finalise your divorce. It is an important document and you should keep it in a safe place. You will need to retain the Final Divorce Order if you want to remarry. It is also advisable to consider updating your Will at this stage if you have not done so already.

Spousal Maintenance on Divorce FAQs

Q. Is it available?
A. Yes, the court has the power to make this order in certain circumstances where your spouse is required to assist you with meeting your day to day needs.

Q. Will it be paid for the rest of my life?
A. Spousal maintenance for life is not a default position as there is an expectation for the recipient to become, if possible, financial independent. However the level of maintenance and length of time someone receives it are all down to the individual case.

Q. Will I get it whilst my children are small?
A. Whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance will depend on a number of factors that are individual to your case.

Q. Do I need to get a job?
A. Whether you “need” to get a job will be something that is considered during any discussions concerning the financial issues pertinent to your case. There remains an expectation however, that if possible, you should look to make the transition to financial independence as soon as is practicable.

Related Blog Posts

If you would like to know more about this process or feel this could be something you would benefit from, please contact us at [email protected] or telephone Ipswich 01473 213311, Felixstowe 01394 834557 or Colchester 01206 584584 where we will be happy to speak with you. ​

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Family Team

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