Providing all the support you need if you have decided to divorce
If you have decided to proceed with divorce, our family law solicitors provide all the legal advice and support you need. Going through the divorce process can be a difficult and stressful experience and we want to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.
Divorce is a last resort and you should be sure that it is what you want – many couples consider marriage guidance counselling, through an agency such as Relate which might mean that a divorce is not necessary.
If you decide to proceed with divorce, the length of the process can vary and, depending on the circumstances, there can be much to consider. This can include financial matters and, if you have children, developing a child agreement that is in their best interests. As one of the leading UK family and divorce law firms, having expert legal advice at an early stage can avoid problems that may otherwise occur during the process.
Our expert family solicitors can help with all aspects of divorce including:
- Valuing a business for divorce
- International family law
- Cohabiting separation
- Child custody and children’s law
- Child abduction
- Financial settlements
- Family mediation
Why choose Moore Barlow as your divorce solicitors?
We are one of the top family law solicitors in London and Hampshire and are recommended by Legal 500 and Chambers & Co, independent legal directories, as an “excellent, proactive and responsive practice”.
At Moore Barlow, we can help you through the divorce process, from giving legal advice on the finances to helping with child agreements. Our experienced solicitors will assist you every step of the way, no matter how complex your case is.
What are the grounds for divorce?
Historically, there was a requirement to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a couple’s marriage through one of five facts. These are:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- Desertion by a party;
- Two years separation with consent of the other party; or
- Five years separation without consent of the other party.
However, from 6 April 2022 this system has been replaced by a simple requirement to confirm that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This will allow couples to have greater autonomy in their decision to divorce and reduces state interference in a competent adult’s choice as to with whom they continue to have a relationship.
Watch: How will no fault divorce change divorce proceedings?
Stages of divorce
The process begins with the person seeking the divorce, known as the Petitioner, filing the petition at court and a Statement of Reconciliation. This confirms that you, as Petitioner, and your solicitor have discussed the possibility of reconciliation. The petition and court fee (currently £550) are all sent to the court, along with your original marriage certificate, which won’t be returned.
The court will send a copy of the processed petition, together with a Notice of Proceedings / Acknowledgement of Service, to the Respondent, who is the other person in the divorce.
The Respondent completes the Acknowledgement of Service and returns it. If they accept the stated grounds for divorce and don’t intend to defend it, their role in this process comes to an end.
The Petitioner then has to file a statement in support of the petition and a request for the court to grant the first of the two divorce decrees, known as the Decree Nisi. This is the first time the papers will go before a judge; until then, it’s purely an administrative process. If all is in order, the judge issues a Certificate of Entitlement with a date for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. It’s not usually necessary for anyone to attend the pronouncement, as this is effectively a ‘paper stamping exercise’.
Six weeks and a day after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi, you can apply for the Decree Absolute. This is the second and final divorce decree, after which you can remarry. We will not advise you to do this whilst financial matters remain unresolved.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
Typically it takes around four to six months to complete the divorce proceedings, assuming that they are not contested. It can take longer depending on how quickly both parties deal with the paperwork and respond to the court. Another factor can be extra delays if the court has a significant backlog of work at the relevant time.
What are the court fees for applying for a divorce?
Currently, the court fee is £550. This does not include solicitors’ fees. At Moore Barlow, we are flexible about how you instruct us , which means you can keep control of the costs.
Can the courts deal with your divorce; do they have ‘jurisdiction’?
The courts in England and Wales can deal with your divorce if they have ‘jurisdiction’, which usually means as long as both parties are habitually resident which means living in England or Wales.
You may need to prove you are habitually resident in England or Wales and have been for at least one year. There are other aspects involved; some of them are complex and your solicitor can discuss and explain them.
If you are in any doubt about whether the courts of England and Wales can accept your petition, you should ask our advice straight away. If you delay, you might lose the opportunity to start proceedings here and take advantage of the local laws on divorce, finances and children, if your spouse takes steps to start a divorce in another country.
You should not tip off your spouse if you want to use a certain jurisdiction; time is very much of the essence so do not delay. We are specialists in international family law and can help you if are married to a non-UK national or if divorce proceedings have already been started abroad.
The next step – how do I get a divorce?
It’s a good idea to see us as early as possible if you are contemplating divorce, as our advice at this stage can save complications later on. For example, you may need to act quickly if your partner is about to start disposing of assets or transferring property, in an attempt to prevent you benefiting from them.
We are recognised as one of the UK’s leading divorce and family law firms, with a strong reputation for representing our clients in divorce cases. Our experience and knowledge, together with clear explanation that keeps you informed throughout the process, will make it seem less daunting and help you feel more optimistic for the future.
Divorce solicitors: Frequently asked questions
Do I need grounds for divorce?
There is only one ground for a divorce, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, but you have to cite one of five facts to support it. Those five facts are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent, five years separation without consent or desertion. At present there is no such thing in law as “no fault divorce” but it is being looked at by Parliament.
Will I need to go to court?
Usually there is no need physically to go to court as the divorce proceedings can be dealt with as a paper exercise. The only time that any physical appearance at court is needed is if one party decides to contest or defend divorce proceedings which is very rare.
Will my assets be split 50:50 upon divorce?
The starting point is often 50:50, known as “the yardstick of equality”, but the overall division will depend on various different criteria, such as the needs of the parties, including their housing needs and the needs of any dependant children. The financial settlement is looked at alongside the divorce proceedings.
Who receives custody of the children in a divorce?
Usually parents can decide the arrangements for their children between themselves without any need for the court to become involved. If the court does have to become involved then the outcome will be determined by what is in the children’s best interests, considering how old they are, their physical, emotional and educational needs, their wishes and feelings, the likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances, any cultural or other relevant background circumstances and any harm the children have suffered or are at risk of suffering. All relevant circumstances will be taken into account.
Your local divorce solicitors
Divorce lawyers – London office
For those who are based in the London area and considering divorce, our specialist family law team can offer expert advice on every aspect of the process. Whether you’re just looking for more information at this stage, or wish to start divorce proceedings, our team provide dedicated support that will help you navigate what can be a very challenging time.
Our London divorce lawyers are centrally located, offering a convenient office location to those wanting divorce advice in the London area. We also offer consultations by phone or video call. Our specialist team will be happy to answer any of your questions about the legal process of divorce.
Divorce lawyers – Southampton office
If you’re based in the Southampton area and are looking for expert advice on divorce or related legal issues, our family law team based in our Southampton office will be happy to help. Whether you’re looking into petitioning for divorce, or your spouse has started proceedings and you want to ensure that your rights are protected, our Southampton divorce team have a proven track record in helping people to navigate this difficult process in the best possible way for their circumstances.
Conveniently located in the Eastleigh area of Southampton, our specialist family law solicitors can meet you at our offices or consult with you over the phone or via video call. We’re here to help with any legal matters in relation to divorce or other family law issues.
Divorce lawyers – Richmond office
For those in the Richmond area who are looking for expert support with divorce proceedings, our team are ideally located to help. Whether you are considering divorce and want to understand more about the process, or believe that divorce might be a possibility and want to ensure that you have the legal protection that you need to navigate it in the best possible way, our specialist family law solicitors can provide whatever support is needed.
Divorce lawyers – Guildford office
For anyone in the Guildford area who is looking for expert advice on divorce, our team can offer tailored support on every aspect of the process. Our specialist family law solicitors have many years of experience in representing people in divorce proceedings and are ideally located in Guildford for the convenience of our clients. We can also offer consultations over the phone or via video call as well as in-person.
Divorce lawyers – Woking office
If you are based in the Woking area and want some specialist advice on the divorce process, our expert team can offer whatever support is required in relation to family law. Our experienced divorce solicitors know exactly what it takes to ensure that your rights are protected and that you have all of the accurate and up-to-date advice needed to make informed decisions about your marriage and future. Conveniently located to offer face-to-face consultations in Woking, our team can also offer legal advice via phone or video call.
Divorce lawyers – Lymington office
For those in the Lymington area who are looking for expert support with divorce proceedings, our team are ideally located to help. Whether you are considering divorce and want to understand more about the process, or believe that divorce might be a possibility and want to ensure that you have the legal protection that you need to navigate it in the best possible way, our specialist family law solicitors can provide whatever support is needed.