Divorce and family separation are two of the hardest issues many of us will face in our lives, but your situation can be made much easier with the right legal advice and support from the outset.
Our highly experienced divorce lawyers offer a sensitive, compassionate and highly practical approach, designed to keep the process of ending your marriage as straightforward and stress-free as possible, while ensuring your interests and those of your loved ones stay protected at all times.
With decades of experience and specialist training in non-confrontational dispute resolution, we can help minimise the conflict involved in your divorce while ensuring all of the practical details, such as financial settlements and arrangements for children, are taken care of.
We understand that every family and every divorce is unique, so our divorce solicitors will listen to you and make sure we have a clear picture of your situation and what you need to happen. We will then explain your options in plain English, so you can have complete confidence in the decisions you make every step of the way.
Speak to one of our divorce solicitors today by calling 01476 404 113 or use the contact form on the right and we will get back to you promptly.
Our divorce services
Our divorce lawyers, based in Grantham, Lincoln and Newark, work with clients across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and the rest of the UK on all aspects of divorce and family breakdown, including divorce settlements and arrangements for children.
Our highly experienced divorce solicitors offer supportive guidance through every step of the process for bringing your marriage to an end, including helping you to file for divorce, respond to a divorce petition, representing you in court where required and ensuring the entire process goes ahead as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Sorting out the financial aspects of divorce can be challenging, especially where there are issues such as shared property and pension entitlements to consider. We are experts in helping out clients to voluntarily agree divorce settlements through negotiation and mediation, saving you time, money and stress. However, where court action is required, we can offer the skilled advocacy you need to help you achieve a fair settlement.
Arrangements for children
If you are your former partner have children together, their welfare is a clear priority. We can provide all of the support you need to agree arrangements for children voluntarily wherever possible or support you in court action where required.
In most cases, divorce and the issues surrounding it can be resolved amicably between both parties without resorting to court action, saving you time, money and a lot of stress, while allowing everyone involved to move on faster.
Family mediation is now the most popular method for handling divorce and family separation and involves both parties sitting down for a series of meetings with a trained, neutral mediator.
The goal of these meetings will be to talk through the various issues involved in the divorce, such as financial settlements and arrangements for children, and agree together how they should be resolved. The mediator’s role is to help guide the discussion and defuse any potential conflict, keeping the process productive and non-confrontational.
Our divorce solicitors have strong working relationships with a number of highly effective family mediators who we can rely on to do the best job for our clients. Because we are not tied to any particular mediation service, we have the freedom to choose the best mediator for you, giving you the best possible chance of an amicable divorce.
You will generally need to at least consider mediation with a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you will be allowed to apply to a court for a decision on your financial settlement or arrangements for children.
We are able to offer some divorce services on a fixed fee basis while others may be charged on the basis of an hourly rate. We will be happy to provide a transparent quote up front so you have a clear idea of the likely costs involved at the outset.
Please contact us for a quote.
Legal Aid for divorce
Unfortunately legal aid is now only available for divorce under very limited circumstances, for example in some cases where domestic abuse is a factor. If you believe you may be eligible for legal aid funding for your divorce, please get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.
Common questions about divorce
Can I get a no fault divorce in the UK?
Currently there is no option for a ‘no fault’ divorce in the UK, meaning that even if both spouses agree to the divorce, you will still need to cite specific grounds for why your marriage has broken down on your divorce petition.
If you and your spouse both agree to the divorce, it can be a good idea to agree what grounds to cite on the divorce petition together, in consultation with your solicitors. This can help the divorce process to proceed more smoothly by ensuring that whichever spouse is the respondent will be less likely to dispute the claims in the petition and wish to defend the divorce.
By consulting with your solicitors, you can also ensure the grounds cited are likely to be sufficient to satisfy a judge that your marriage truly is over, reducing the chances of them rejecting your divorce petition and slowing down your divorce.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is only one ground for divorce in the UK – that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. You are required to prove that this is the case by citing one of the following five reasons on your divorce petition.
Adultery – This means that your spouse has had sex with someone else of the opposite sex without your consent. Current UK law does not class same-sex infidelity as adultery – this would instead need to be cited as ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
Unreasonable behaviour – The most commonly used grounds for divorce, unreasonable behaviour can cover a wide range of things. This can vary from the relatively mild, such as spending too much time at work or out with friends, to much more serious issues, such as domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse.
Desertion – This is where you spouse has left you without your consent, without good reason and with the intention to end your relationship for at least 2 years out of the past 2.5.
Living separately for at least 2 years – This can be used as grounds for divorce if you spouse agrees to the divorce.
Living separately for at least 5 years – This can be used as grounds for divorce whether your spouse agrees to the divorce or not.
Choosing the right grounds for divorce can make a significant difference to how quickly your divorce goes ahead, so it is essential to discuss this with your solicitor before filling out a divorce petition.
How long does it take to get divorced?
A straightforward divorce in the UK will normally take around 4-6 months, although the exact time is takes will depend on various circumstances.
Some of the key time frames to bear in mind are:
- Once a divorce petition is filed, the respondent will have 8 days to respond.
- If the respondent accepts the divorce, it can move straightforward, if they defend the divorce, they will have 21 days to respond explaining why.
- If the divorce is defended, you will normally have to wait for a court hearing date, which will typically not be for several months
- If the divorce is undefended, or a judge rules that the divorce should go ahead at a hearing, they will issue a decree nisi. This is a legal document stating the court sees no reason the divorce should not proceed. For undefended divorces, it normally takes around 2-4 weeks to get a decree nisi.
- Once a decree nisi has been issued, you will need to wait a minimum of 43 days and you will then be able to apply for a decree absolute. Once this has been issued, your divorce is final and your marriage is legally ended.
What is ‘digital divorce’?
Since May 2018, divorcing couples in England and Wales can fill out their divorce application online. This is designed to make the process faster and easier while reducing the number of mistakes made in divorce petitions, resulting in them being rejected and wasting time and money for everyone involved.
While this has the potential to be positive for divorcing couples, it is still strongly recommended to have an expert divorce solicitor assist you with your divorce application as this can reduce the risk of mistakes and minimise the chance of your application being rejected e.g. for failing to cite sufficient grounds for divorce.
Divorce law – important changes
Divorce: no-fault divorce starts on 6 April 2022
After decades of campaigning for a ‘no fault divorce’ the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill finally obtained Royal Assent in June 2020. The changes are the biggest shake-up of divorce laws for 50 years and it means that from 6 April 2022 married and civil partnership couples can obtain a divorce without having to blame the other party.
This is a welcomed, long overdue change in the law and aims to reduce hostility between couples when separating, avoid confrontation and reduce the impact upon children of the marriage in particular, by removing the need to apportion blame.
What will the new Divorce Law replace?
Currently, one spouse has to make accusations about the other’s conduct, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery, or otherwise face years of separation before a divorce can be granted – regardless of whether a couple has made a mutual decision to separate.
The new law will remove this ‘blame game’ by allowing one spouse – or the couple jointly – to make a statement of irretrievable breakdown. It will also stop one party contesting the divorce if the other wants one – which in some cases has allowed domestic abusers further coercive control over their victim.
How long will it take?
The new minimum time period from submitting the signed statement will be 20 weeks. This allows both parties a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to turn back, or where divorce is inevitable, it will better enable the couple to agree practical arrangements surrounding the separation to include arrangements for the children and financial matters. Once 20 weeks have passed, a Conditional Order is granted by the Court. This confirms entitlement to the divorce. This replaces Decree Nisi.
From the Conditional Order there is an additional 6-week period before a Final Order may be applied for. This severs / dissolves the marriage or civil partnership. This replaces Decree Absolute.
This change in divorce will not cover any other areas of matrimonial law such as financial provision. Financial provision in divorce is handled in separate proceedings and the Court has wide discretion to provide for future financial needs.
Our expertise in divorce law
Bird & Co’s divorce solicitors have decades of experience in everything from straightforward divorces to which both parties agree, to the most complex and contentious divorces that require exceptional skill to navigate.
We will discuss all of the available options carefully, giving you all of the information, time and support you need to make the right decisions for you and your family. Where appropriate, we can also help you explore ways to avoid a divorce, such as an informal or trial separation.
Our expertise includes every aspect of the divorce process, including financial settlements covering everything from property and other joint assets to investments, pensions and other considerations. If you gave a pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement, we can review this and advise you on the likely impact on your settlement, including whether there is room to challenge the agreement if you desire to do so.
We are also highly experienced in divorce and separation cases where children are involved, regularly play a critical role regarding children’s welfare, including resolving common issues such as parental contact, maintenance payments, residence and care orders.
For divorces where domestic abuse is involved, we can offer a range of options to help safeguard you and your loved ones. This can include arranging for injunctions, non-molestation and occupation orders, and matrimonial home rights, helping to prevent your abuser for approaching you, contacting you or occupying your family home.
It pays to have a legal team who can combine supportiveness and empathy with expertise and experience. We are very pleased to offer both private family law and publicly funded (legal aid) services from all of our offices, as well as from Grantham and Stamford Citizens Advice Bureau on alternate Wednesdays.
Our family law team includes Estelle Conron, an accredited specialist with the Law Society’s Children Panel, and Sally Tarlton-Weatherall, who is accredited by Resolution with specialisms in complex financial remedies and domestic abuse.
Bird & Co has achieved the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation for our excellent legal and professional standards and we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Contact our divorce solicitors today
Speak to one of our divorce lawyers in Lincoln, Grantham or Newark today by calling 01476 404 113 or use the contact form at the top of the page to ask a question.