Divorce Solicitors

Divorce Solicitors
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi

We know that dealing with divorce can be a difficult time and picking up the phone for a divorce solicitor is not a call you might want to make. However, Cartwright King’s dedicated Divorce Solicitors offer sensitive, practical advice to help make that first call easier. We’re here to listen, advise and take action to help you start a new chapter.

For trusted, sympathetic advice, get in touch with Cartwright King today.

How Cartwright King Can Help With Your Divorce

Our dedicated divorce solicitors are on hand to help guide you step by step through your divorce, including specialist help with any childcare arrangements and financial settlements. When you’re dealing with divorce, Cartwright King offers honest, rational and straightforward advice, giving you a plan of action that enables you to make the right decisions with a clear head. 

Having the right advice is often the difference when it comes to resolving your case with minimal stress and confrontation.

For a consultation about your divorce, call our family law team on 03458 941 622 or request a call back online and the team will get back to you, at a time convenient for you.

What is Divorce?

A divorce is the dissolution of a marriage through the legal process of filling out an application in a court of law. Once the application has been filled out, the parties are no longer legally married. However, both parties may have legal contracts to adhere to such as maintenance orders and child arrangement orders.

To be eligible for a divorce or to end a civil partnership, you must be married for a minimum of twelve months. If you wish to get a divorce but have not been married for twelve months our solicitors can help you apply to annul the marriage or complete a separation application.

The Law on Divorce

England and Wales have recently introduced updated grounds for divorce called ‘no-fault divorce’. This means that couples no longer need to provide a reason for the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, they must provide a statement stating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

As well as removing the requirement of blame from the divorce process, no-fault divorce provides new options for couples to apply for divorce jointly as well as removing the option to contest the divorce.

With the new changes to the divorce process, there are understandably lots of new questions arising about how no-fault divorce may affect the divorce process. At Cartwright King Solicitors our no-fault divorce solicitors can guide you through the new changes, providing any advice you may need.

Read more about No Fault Divorce here.

The Divorce Procedure

Although the process of a divorce will be slightly different for every individual, there are some essential steps that usually must happen for a divorce to process.

Firstly, you must complete a divorce application, called Form D8. This can either be done as a sole applicant or you can both apply as joint applications. You cannot use the same solicitor as your spouse unless making a joint application as this would result in a conflict of interest. For individual applications, we advise that both parties take independent legal advice from their own divorce solicitors.

Next, you need to submit the application to a divorce centre either online or by post, with the correct court fee. The court fee currently stands at £593.

Once your application has been acknowledged by your spouse after a period of 20-week cooling off, you can apply for a conditional order. This period is designed to allow the couple to think about the implications of a divorce and make any arrangements with their divorce solicitors, such as child arrangements or financial arrangements.

Finally, you will need to apply for a final order six weeks after you have received the conditional order.

A divorce legally ends your marriage to your partner. However, you will still need to arrange aspects such as your financial relationship and child arrangements with your partner. For all aspects of divorce, our divorce solicitors can provide expert advice and support, taking you step by step through the process. In relation to the financial aspect, we would usually advise our client to resolve any financial issues before the divorce is made absolute.

You cannot use the same solicitor as your spouse as this would result in a conflict of interest. We advise that both parties take independent legal advice from their own divorce solicitors.

Children in Divorce

During a divorce or separation, one of the hardest aspects to agree on and navigate is the child arrangements. When negotiating child arrangements, it’s pivotal that the needs of the children should always be put first. Couples should consider questions such as:

  • Who has the most time available to look after the children?
  • Whose home is nearest to your children’s school and the children’s friends?
  • What changes do parents need to anticipate regarding schools as the children get older?

By asking these questions, parents can reach an agreement that is in their children’s best interest. Sometimes the agreement does not need to be escalated to the courts. Legal intervention is only necessary when parents cannot reach an agreement.

Divorce and separation can be an overwhelming time for both parents and children and sometimes it isn’t always possible to agree on suitable child arrangements. If this happens, you may want to consider mediation to reach an amicable agreement. In a situation where an amicable agreement cannot be achieved, our expert family solicitors are on hand to help you with every aspect of children’s law and your child arrangements.

Read more about Cartwright King’s children law solicitors.

Finances and Divorce

During a divorce or separation, it is not absolutely necessary to reach a divorce financial settlement agreement. However, if you do not reach one, your spouse or partner can attempt to make a financial claim against you in the future. Therefore, we recommend reaching an agreement with your partner and having a consent order in place even if you don’t share assets such as pensions or savings.

In a situation where both parties can’t agree on a fair division of assets or arrangements for continued financial support, Cartwright King’s family solicitors can signpost the client’s to the relevant mediation services if the case is suitable and meets the criteria.

If mediation does not end in an agreement, you will have to apply to the court to put a settlement in place. This involves the court assessing factors such as:

  • Your respective ages
  • How much your earnings and potential future earning are
  • How much property and cash you and your partner have
  • Whether you are the breadwinner or if you are a stay-at-home parent

The court will always put the interests of the children first when ruling on a divorce financial settlement.

Read more about Cartwright King’s financial settlement agreement solicitors here.

Mediation

Mediation provides a way of sorting out any issues that may arise in a separation or divorce. When mediation is successful, it can be both quicker and cheaper than litigation/court-based applications.

Mediation can be a good option when you have children, to enable both parties to communicate constructively.

Mediation is voluntary and confidential, where both parties meet with a qualified mediator who assists both sides to reach an agreement.

As a result, mediation helps couples to have an open conversation, reaching important agreements regarding their separation or divorce. These decisions can then be turned into legally binding agreements with the help of Cartwright King’s divorce solicitors.

Read more about Cartwright King’s mediation services here.

Arbitration

Arbitration allows for a dispute resolution and involves a third party called the arbitrator, who adopts the role of a Judge. The arbitrator listens to the issues they are appointed to review both parties’ evidence.

When conducting an arbitration, arbitrators are required to apply the law of England and Wales.

The final decision made by the arbitrator is legally binding and is known as an Award for financial matters or a Determination for children matters.  The decision can be embodied into a Court Order and submitted to the Court for the approval of a Judge.

Arbitrators can prove quicker and more affordable than going through the court system. However, to go through arbitration, both parties must agree to engage in the process. There are additional costs for both parties.

Pre-nuptial Agreements

A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract between two people that is drawn up before they get married. It sets out how they want to divide their assets in the event of a divorce. Because the negotiations on asset distribution will have already been completed before your marriage, a clean-break separation is much more likely with a prenuptial agreement.

Whilst there remains no statutory provision to validate pre-nuptial agreements in England and Wales there has been growing recognition of these agreements supported by numerous high profile cases. As a result the courts are likely to follow the terms of an agreement providing certain criteria is met.

Read more about Cartwright King’s pre-nuptial agreements here.

Post-nuptial Agreements

Postnuptial agreements are like prenuptial agreements but are set up after a couple is already married.

Just as with a prenuptial agreement, the postnuptial agreement clearly outlines how assets will be shared in a divorce. You may want a postnuptial agreement if you married without any agreement. Having a signed postnuptial agreement gives you and your partner peace of mind that your futures are secure, helping to avoid a messy divorce down the line.

Read more about Cartwright King’s post-nuptial agreements here.

Divorce Solicitor Fees

The cost of a divorce depends on the methods you choose or the complexity of the case.

In a divorce, there is a standard court fee of £593 to process the divorce application. In an average divorce without complexity, when a divorce solicitor is acting, the cost of preparing both the paperwork and progressing the proceedings is likely to cost around £480 – £1150, plus VAT.

However, in a divorce where there are financial arrangements and child arrangements that need resolving, solicitor costs will vary, especially when court proceedings are required.

Read more here about the Cartwright King’s divorce costs.

Benefit From a Fixed Fee Initial Telephone Conversation

The first step is always the hardest when dealing with divorce. That’s why you can benefit from a fixed-fee telephone call with a specialist Cartwright King Solicitor to assess your options. You’re under no pressure to instruct us, this is an opportunity to take that difficult first step.

There’s no substitute for speaking to one of our specialist Divorce Solicitors to get rational, clear advice that will help you move on with your life.

For immediate assistance, call us or email us for your free* initial discussion. 

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to:

  • Get to know you 
  • Understand your situation and listen to your concerns
  • Offer tailored advice in response
  • Agree on how you want to proceed
  • Discuss any concerns about future costs

As part of our fixed fee package, we will send a letter of advice to you following the initial telephone session. This enables you to review our advice and make decisions at your own pace.

Why Choose Cartwright King For Divorce Advice?

Divorce can be a difficult experience and cause huge upheaval for your entire family. Our Divorce Solicitors will keep you calm to help you make decisions with clarity and to minimise distress and upheaval.

Our advice is backed by our experience of dealing with all manner of divorce issues. You can trust this experience to help guide you through the process as there aren’t many situations we haven’t come across before when dealing with divorce cases. 

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout your case. When you need us most, we’ll be there to offer expert legal advice and sure guidance.  

We’re a trusted, Legal 500 top-tier law firm with specialist divorce solicitors, giving you counsel that you can count on.

Legal Fees

We offer a fixed fee divorce service for private paying individuals. For an idea of these legal fees, get in touch with us.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

What reason do I need to get a divorce?

As of April 6th 2022, divorce laws in England and Wales changed as No-Fault Divorce was introduced.

No-Fault Divorce removes the need for either party to be assigned blame for the relationship reaching a conclusion.

All that needs to be disclosed is that the marriage has reached a point beyond repair.

I've been married less than a year, can I divorce?

No. You must have been married for a minimum of 12 months before you can file for divorce. However, if you have been married for less than a year, you can start to prepare by drafting a petition ready to send to the Court. You just can’t send it to Court until one year after your marriage date.

Can both parties use a Cartwright King divorce lawyer?

Under professional conduct rules, Cartwright King is unable to represent both parties in a divorce case. Even if an agreement has been reached and everything is amicable, representing both parties is just not possible.

If we were to act for both parties in a divorce, a situation may arise when advising or drafting where there is a conflict of interest. This could threaten the validity of any agreements reached.

Do I need a solicitor to get divorced?

Whilst you do not technically have to instruct a divorce solicitor in order to get divorced, it is the best option to ensure that the process is completed correctly and efficiently and that there are no legal loopholes that may be left after your divorce.

How Long Does a Divorce Take

The process of divorce requires a 6-month period before you can obtain a final divorce order. This period of six months is intended to be a period where both parties can reflect on whether they truly want to separate.

The process involves a minimum of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings till when the ‘Conditional Order’ can be made. This is followed by a 6-week period between the Conditional Order and when the Final Order can be made.

An agreement still needs to be reached with your partner for a divorce settlement. This means that you will need to decide how to divide up your assets and savings. Additionally, both parties will need to come to an amicable agreement regarding child custody. These difficult decisions require some time to manage correctly.

Who pays the solicitor fees in a divorce?

Generally, each person getting a divorce pays their own solicitor’s fees, and the person applying for the divorce (the petitioner) is responsible for covering any court fees or additional costs.

How long do solicitors keep divorce papers?

In accordance with legal best practice, most solicitors keep divorce papers for the recommended minimum period of six years. In some cases, files that include children are recommended to be kept for fifteen years.

What’s the difference between divorce and separation?

If you wish to separate from your partner but not get a divorce, you will remain legally tied to your spouse. This means that you will legally still be husband and wife and your finances will remain tied. The financial claims that may arise upon a divorce also remain open and can therefore be addressed at a later date.

A legal process called judicial separation allows for couples to remain married by being legally separated. This can help with most but not all financial claims. In practice, this is not a practice often used.

What if your partner refuses to accept the divorce?

It is not common for divorce proceedings to be prevented. The reasoning for stopping court proceedings is generally limited and applies to the validity of the marriage and whether it was celebrated according to the correct procedure.

What happens if your spouse doesn’t acknowledge the Divorce application?

If you partner refuses to acknowledge a divorce application, this can make the process of divorce much harder. If this occurs in your divorce, there are several options your solicitor can help you take.

Once the divorce application has been filed, the court will send out a copy of the application and an Acknowledgment of Service form to your partner.

From this point on they are given 14 days to complete the form and return it to the court. This confirms to the court that they have received the application.

If the form is not returned, you can have the application personally served. Your solicitor will send a Process Server who will physically serve the document to your spouse at their address or an alternative address, like their work address.

Once personally served, you can proceed whether they cooperate or not.

What to do if the relationship is not safe?

If at any point in your relationship you feel threatened, or unsafe or if you believe you are in danger you should ring 999 as soon as you feel it’s safe to do so. You can obtain protection from the court with the help of a family solicitor. This includes obtaining an order which regulated the occupation of the family home, excluding the violet party. Orders can additionally be obtained to prohibit a party from certain behaviour.

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