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Divorce Lawyers

Divorce Lawyers

We understand that the breakdown of a marriage is a highly stressful and emotional time. If you need to talk to a solicitor about a divorce, 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.

How do I get a divorce?

In order to obtain a divorce, the court has to be shown that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are five ways of showing this, which are the Respondent’s adultery, the Respondent’s unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with the Respondent’s consent, desertion by the Respondent for a period of two years, and separation for five years.

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No-Fault Divorce

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

What This Means For You

The bill will introduce a new option, allowing couples to jointly apply for divorce where the decision to separate is a mutual one.

  • It also replaces terms such as “Decree Nisi” and “Decree Absolute” with “conditional order” and “final order”.
  • Petitioners will also be called “applicants” under the new provisions.

Under the new proposals, there must be a minimum six month period between lodging the petition to the divorce being made final.

Removing the needless blame game means that this process is less painful for both parties and hopefully will reduce conflict as a result.

Removing blame should also allow both parties to work more collaboratively which will have a positive impact especially where children are involved.

What Else You Need to Know

How do I start divorce proceedings?

To start the divorce, a divorce petition has to be completed and issued out of your nearest Regional Divorce Centre. The fee to start proceedings is £550 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.

Visit the Children page

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 any day of the week or at weekends which are in addition to a member of our Team being available between 9.30-12.30 via our website on the first Saturday of each month and on the second Wednesday of the month until 6.15pm. (For Wednesday after hours, please ensure you pre book these by calling the department in advance).

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?

We offer a 45 minute fixed fee appointment, in which we provide you with bespoke legal advice and include setting out your options on how to move forward. Our fixed fee for this is £125.00 plus VAT (£150.00 in total) and is payable in advance of the meeting. Don’t worry if the meeting runs over, you will not be charged any additional fee.

Other Responsibilities to Consider

Children

Parental Responsibility

Financial Settlement

Mediation

Collaborative Law

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.

Children

‘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

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.

Mediation

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

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.

Q. How long do I have to wait to get a divorce once my marriage has broken down?
A. There are 5 facts used within divorce proceedings:

(a) Adultery,
(b) Unreasonable Behaviour,
(c) Separation after two years with consent,
(d) Desertion after 2 years has elapsed or
(e) 5 years separation.

The first two are known as “fault grounds” and can be used to instigate proceedings straight away.

The other 3 involve periods of living separate and apart for at least 2 years.

From April 2022 couples will be able to issue proceeds 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. No longer will one spouse have to say that the other spouse is at fault in order to obtain a divorce without waiting two years or five years. Blaming one party for the divorce creates argument and increases acrimony, in turn increasing costs and emotional distress.

Q. Can my spouse defend the divorce?
A. Yes, but defended divorces are not common and we can talk through various options with you to avoid such a scenario occurring.

Q. Can I avoid saying anything horrible in the divorce petition?
A. Divorce Proceedings based on “unreasonable behaviour” can be presented in such a way as to avoid further conflict or emotional distress. Equally, you could also consider instigating divorce based upon separation over a qualifying period such as 2 years.

Q. When I get my decree absolute am I divorced?
A. Yes, once you have Decree Absolute you are legally divorced (single) and should you so wish, are free to re-marry.

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.

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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 or Colchester 01206 584584, where we will be happy to speak with you. ​

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Family Team

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