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Divorce & Family

At Specters, we recognise that divorce can be an emotional and stressful experience, and that no two divorces are the same.

We offer a full range of divorce & family law services

At Specters, our experienced team of solicitors will provide you with first-class service and advice tailored to your situation.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA) came into effect on 6th April 2022, introducing the new law on divorce.

To be eligible for divorce, you need to have been married or in a civil partnership for at least 12 months.

An applicant can make a sole application to the courts for divorce. Additionally, spouses can choose to issue a joint application for divorce.

To apply for a divorce, you need to provide a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There is no requirement to detail evidence or particulars about the breakdown of the marriage. Therefore, if your marriage has irretrievably broken down, a divorce application can be issued.

There is a timetable of 26 weeks for the divorce process. However, this can vary depending on issues such as whether the divorce is disputed, if the other party cannot be traced or there are jurisdiction issues. The main steps are:

  1. Complete a divorce application as a sole applicant or as joint applicants
  2. Submit your divorce application to the courts
  3. Apply for a Conditional Order
  4. Apply for a Final Order

If you are unsure whether you want to go through with your divorce, there may be other options open to you. We will discuss these options with you so that you can make an informed decision.

It is important that you receive the correct legal advice early on to decide on the best approach for you. This relates to key issues such as divorce, custody of children, financial arrangements, pension arrangements and inheritance after divorce. Following a divorce, ex-partners may still have financial obligations toward each other. It is important to receive the correct advice to ensure that the financial relationship between you and your ex-partner comes to an end.

There may be an international element to your divorce such as property abroad or your spouse may be living out of the jurisdiction. There may also be company assets or trusts that need to be resolved.

Whatever your situation, our team can help you by offering detailed knowledge and skill to ensure that your rights are protected. We are based in the heart of Farringdon, London, and operate nationally.

If you have questions about your options, we can offer you a free initial 30-minute consultation in person, and we fix our rate per 30 minutes at £50 thereafter. You can free-call us on 0300 303 3629 to arrange this initial consultation, or alternatively, you can complete our enquiry form.

Where Divorce & Family matters are concerned, we specialise in the following areas:

  • Annulment
  • Business & Divorce
  • Children
  • Civil Partnership
  • Cohabitation Disputes
  • Disputed Divorce
  • Undisputed Divorce
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Financial Settlement
  • Inheritance & Wills
  • International Divorce
  • Pre-nuptial Arrangements
  • Post-Nuptial Agreements

We expect the divorce process to take between 3 and 6 months, depending on various issues such as whether the other party consents. Delays may be incurred if the other party cannot be traced, is out of the jurisdiction or contests the divorce.

We are able to provide a fixed fee for uncontested divorces of £700 plus VAT. If your divorce is uncontested, we will move swiftly to conclude matters.

Specters Solicitors has highly trained female, Arabic speaking solicitors on hand to deal with required specialised cases.

To get in touch with the Specters team, submit an enquiry below or call us on 0300 303 3629.

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Explore divorce & family services

Business & Divorce
Children & Divorce
Civil Partnerships
Cohabitation Disputes
Contested Divorce
Domestic Abuse
Financial Settlements
Inheritance & Wills After Divorce
International Divorce
Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Divorce FAQs

What are the grounds for divorce?

To get a divorce, you must be able to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You must be able to prove the following:

  • Your spouse has acted unreasonably;
  • Your spouse has committed adultery;
  • Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years;
  • You and your spouse have been separated for at least two years and you are both in agreement to the divorce proceedings;
  • You and your spouse have been separated for at least five years.

How long does the divorce procedure take?

A standard divorce can take between 6-8 months, provided that it is not contested. If a divorce is contested then this timescale will be longer and it will depend on when outstanding issues are resolved.

Do I have to attend court?

If matters are uncontested, and you have already agreed with your former partner your divorce and financial arrangements, there will be no requirement for you to attend court. Your divorce will be processed based on your paperwork. If you not agreed on part or all of your financial arrangements, you will be obliged to attend Court.

Unmarried Couples/Cohabitating Couples FAQs

If we separate, am I entitled to anything?

The law gives no automatic rights to unmarried partners in this circumstance. However, in certain circumstances, you may have a claim. This includes:

  • If you have made financial contributions to the purchase of the home;
  • If you have provided money for the improvements to the home;
  • If you have children with your former partner.

It is recommended that you speak with one of our specialist solicitors who can guide you through the process.

My partner will not leave our shared property, what can I do?

This will depend on who owns or rents the property. There are other factors that re relevant such as children and their welfare, as well domestic abuse. There are many factors that help determine whether either of you has a right to stay in the home.

If is recommended that you seek specialist legal advice where neither of you are willing to leave the property.

In the event of domestic abuse you should contact us immediately and we can look to obtain an injunction for you or your children.

My partner has left and has stopped paying the bills, what can I do?

If the bills are in your name or in joint names, you will be still responsible for paying the bills. It is very difficult to recover contributions by your former partner in the future if they have left the property.

If you do not pay, the utility company will pursue either or both of you for the outstanding amount.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement? Do I need one?

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract that an unmarried couple can enter into. This contract regulates the couples finances and arrangements for living together. It may seem unromantic, but it will save a lot of problems later on should you separate.

Children in Family & Divorce Matters FAQs

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility means the legal rights, powers duties and responsibilities that a parent has for a child and the child’s property. A person with parental responsibility has the legal rights to about the child’s upbringing such as:

  • The child’s name
  • Where a chid lives
  • Whether the child has certain medical treatments
  • The child’s religion
  • How and where a the child is educated

These decisions must be agreed with anyone else who has parental responsibility.

Who has parental responsibility?

The following people have automatic parental responsibility:

  • All birth mothers;
  • Fathers married to mothers at the time the child is born
  • Fathers who are not married to the birth mother, but are registered on the birth certificate
  • Partners of the mother who are registered as the legal parent on the child’s birth certificate

What happens if we cannot agree about our children?

If you are unable to agree arrangements for your children with the other parent, it is vital that you seek legal assistance.

It is vital in the first instance to attend mediation to attempt to resolve your differences. Mediation is a process where both parents discuss issues in dispute with the assistance of a mediator in an attempt to reach an agreement without going to court. If you are still not able to reach an agreement, it may necessary to make an application to the court.

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

A child arrangements order is an order setting out the following:

  1. Who the children will live with and when
  2. Who the children will spend time with, or have contact with and when

The Court may order that a child lives with one parent or both parents and specify when the child lives with each parent.

If the child lives with one parent, the Court may order when the child is to have contact with the other parent. Decisions over contact can be made by a judge and the following arrangements can be made:

  • Direct contact-this is face to face contact with the child
  • Indirect contact- letters, cards and gifts
  • Supervised contact- This is contact which is supervised by a suitable third party or at a contact centre

The Court can also add conditions and directions to a child arrangements order. This includes not taking a child to a specific place or taking certain parenting courses.

If a parent fails to comply with a child arrangements order, the court can take enforcement action against them, and in very exceptional circumstances, can imprison a parent for failing to comply with the order. If you believe that you have a good reason for not complying with a child arrangements order, you may apply to the court to have the order varied.

What is a Specific Issues Order?

A specific issues order is an order the court can make when two parents cannot agree about an important decision in the child’s upbringing. This includes:

  • The child’s name or surname
  • The child’s religion
  • The child’s education including which school the child attends
  • The child’s health

The Courts are not likely to be involved in less important decisions about the way you bring up your child.

My partner has threatened to kidnap my child. What can I do?

It is advisable that you obtain a prohibited steps order as soon as possible. A prohibited steps order is a court order which forbids a parent from taking a certain action in relation to the child. This includes:

  • Removing your child from your care;
  • Taking the child abroad
  • Removing your child from school
  • Bringing your child into contact with certain people
  • Changing the child’s surname

The Court has the powers to make these orders without the other parent being present in the case of an emergency.

Finance & Divorce FAQs

My spouse and I have decided to divorce. How do we sort out our finances?

Both you and your spouse will have financial claims against the other. The starting point will be the equal division of everything you both own including capital and income. Various other factors will then be taken into consideration to decide is an equal division of assets is a fair division based upon your circumstances. This includes:

  • Needs of your children
  • Income, earning capacity, property and other finance financial resources of each party
  • The age of each party
  • Any physical or mental disability to either party to the marriage
  • Contributions each party has made to the family or family home
  • The financial needs and obligations of each party
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breakdown of marriage
  • The conduct of each party

My spouse and I have separated for a while and I do not know what their financial position currently is. How can I find this out and how will the court decide what a fair settlement is?

Both parties to the divorce have a duty to give the other full and frank financial disclosure using a financial form, ‘Form E’. The court will direct you both to complete and exchange a Form E which will include each party’s:

  • Assets including property
  • Savings
  • Income
  • Investments
  • Pensions
  • Bank accounts
  • Liabilities

Both parties will be obliged to provide supporting evidence to the other so that you have a clear picture of the other’s financial position.

My spouse and I have already reached an agreement about how we will divide our finances. Do we still need to make an application to the court?

It is advisable that you both seek independent legal advice upon making any agreements with your spouse.

You can set out any agreements you have made in a consent order and file this with the court. Both parties must sign this for the consideration of the judge. You will also need to complete a basic financial statement of information for the court’s consideration. The Judge will usually approve the consent order by sealing it. One an order is sealed by the court, it will be legally binding on the both of you. It will usually become effective from the final decrees of divorce is granted.

If you do not have your agreement sealed by the Court and approved by a Judge, your agreement will not be binding. Your financial claims against each other will continue in the future even after divorce.

What is a clean break?

A clean break order is an order which allows you to break all financial ties with your spouse. Once a clean break order has been made, all financial claims in the future are dismissed and neither spouse can make a claim for money or assets. This enables both parties to the divorce to move forward and be financially independent of one another.

Even if you do not have any assets at the time of your divorce, it is still vital to get a clean break. Your spouse’s ability to make a financial claim will continue to exist even after you have a divorce. In certain circumstances, a clean break may not be appropriate especially if there are children involved.

If a clean break is appropriate, you must make an application to the court and have the order sealed. Without this order, there is always a possibility that you could be faced with a financial claim in the future.

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