Divorce Solicitors In London
The process of divorce is emotionally-charged and the actions you take in the early stages can set the tone for everything that follows. Whether you are initiating a divorce, responding to a divorce petition or looking to change divorce lawyers, our divorce solicitors in London are committed to helping you achieve the right outcome.
To book an initial consultation with our expert divorce solicitors in London, simply call 020 3709 8975 or complete our online enquiry form.
An Introduction To Divorce
Legally, a divorce brings your marriage to an end and leaves you free to re-marry, but emotionally, a divorce can feel like anything but ‘freeing’. A bitter divorce can lead to feelings of anger, resentment and shame.
It can cloud how you approach new relationships. Also, it can impact how you view or value your continuing relationship with your spouse, particularly when you have children together and need to continue to function as parents and ongoing role models for your children.
There is no such thing as a ‘good divorce’ and while ‘conscious uncoupling’ may sound very progressive and enlightened, the fact is that whenever a marriage comes to an end, whether or not it is declared to be ‘mutual’, there will be hurt feelings.
That is not to say that a divorced couple can’t remain, friends, but that will take work and time and can only begin when each spouse feels that the outcome of the divorce (the continuing care of the children and the division of the marital assets) is, if not fair, at least reasonable and appropriate in their circumstances.
How Josiah-Lake Gardiner Can Help
At Josiah-Lake Gardiner, our expert divorce solicitors will guide you through the process of divorce, knowing that no two cases are the same, just as no two marriages are the same.
Our experienced team of solicitors will always endeavour to minimise the emotional distress of divorce on all members of the family, with particular emphasis on assisting clients to minimise as much as it is possible to do the emotional impact on any children of the family. We will fully explain the procedure at the outset of the case and will keep you updated at every stage.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce?
In England and Wales there is only one ground for divorce and that is – that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The fact of such irretrievable breakdown must be evidenced by one (or more) of five supporting facts, the first three of which are the ‘fault facts’
2) Unreasonable Behaviour
3) Desertion for 2 years
4) Separation for 2 years with the consent of the other spouse to the divorce
5) Separation for 5 years
*Not applicable in the case of same-sex marriages, the definition of adultery under English Law involving penetrative sex between a man and a woman
How Much Does Divorce Cost?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The legal costs depend on the length of time it takes to reach an agreement both in respect of the divorce and the division of the family finances.
However, our divorce solicitors at Josiah-Lake Gardiner take pride in offering very competitive rates and in respect of the divorce decree itself (and therefore excluding the arrangements for the children and the financial issues) the costs could be as little as £1,000 plus vat plus the court fee of £550.
We do understand that it is important that you know from the outset what your legal fees are likely to amount to. For this reason, our expert divorce solicitors provide all clients with a bespoke costs plan and time estimate at the outset of a case (for which there is no charge) with regular updates as needed.
Does someone always have to be at fault in order to get divorced by consent earlier than 2 years after separating?
Yes, at present, unless adultery or unreasonable behaviour can be proven to the satisfaction of the court, you will have to wait 2 years in order to get divorced by consent. If the other spouse does not want to get divorced, the wait is 5 years unless the ‘fault facts’ can be used.
However, no-fault divorces that could replace the protracted courtroom battles couples often face when separating are to be introduced into law in the not too distant future. The justice secretary, David Gauke, has confirmed he will bring in legislation enacting this reform (of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) in the next session of parliament, removing the need for separating couples to wait for years or allocate blame for the collapse of their relationship.
The concept of the no-fault divorce was first introduced by the Family Law Act 1996, but its provisions were later deemed unworkable and so were never enacted.
When Can I File For Divorce?
Before filing a petition for the dissolution of a marriage the spouses must have been married for at least 1 year.
When Can An Application Be Made For Financial Support?
Either party is entitled, further to the commencement of formal divorce proceedings, to apply for financial provision whether by way of a maintenance order, a lump sum payment or an adjustment of their interest in property, pensions and other assets owned solely or jointly.
An application can be made however prior to the filing of divorce papers by one spouse against the other for an order for financial provision from the other on the ground that the other has failed to provide reasonable maintenance for the applicant or failed to provide or make proper contribution towards the reasonable maintenance of any child of the family.
If satisfied that such failure has been proven by the applicant, the court can make orders for maintenance/periodical payments (including secured periodical payments) and for a capital/cash lump sum as appropriate.
How can lawyers help? Won’t getting lawyers involved make things hostile?
In order to obtain a divorce, you will have to apply to the Family Court for a divorce order called a Decree Absolute. It is unlikely that you will have to go to Court unless the divorce is defended, although defended divorces are very rare.
Whilst there are online divorce options, which can be of benefit to some couples who are divorcing, a lawyer can assist to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. We, at Josiah-Lake Gardiner, always endeavour to minimise the emotional distress of divorce on all members of the family, with particular emphasis on assisting clients to minimise as much as it is possible to do the emotional impact on any children of the family.
We understand that even after a divorce, spouses may still be connected as a result of their continuing roles as parents and that the couple must still be able to communicate effectively in this regard after the lawyers are out of the picture.
We have solicitors specialising in the Collaborative Law process, which promotes an open and non-confrontational approach to relationship breakdown. More information can be found on our collaborative law page.
Will I have to go to court?
Whilst you are unlikely to go to court in respect of the divorce itself, if agreement cannot be reached about with whom the children are to live or how much time they are to spend with the other parent, an application to court for a determination by a judge may be made and both parents would be required to attend court.
Similarly, if questions of maintenance (whether it should be paid and if so, for how long and of what amount) or division of capital cannot be agreed, an application to court could be made and a judge asked to make a determination in this regard.
It may be that you and your partner will, with our help, be able to secure an out of court agreement, but if you do have to go to court, you need to be sure that you have the best divorce lawyers on your side. In this regard, we have been named one of the UK’s leading Family Law firms by the independent legal guide The Legal 500 for a number of years.
I am in a same sex relationship; does this make a difference to how my divorce is dealt with?
No, the dissolution of same sex marriages is dealt with in exactly same way as heterosexual marriages.
What if there is or has been violence in my relationship?
The solicitors at Josiah-Lake Gardiner have many years’ experience in protecting our clients and their children who are suffering from domestic violence. We can act immediately to protect clients who are in this situation, potentially applying for the removal of the violent partner from the home.
We can restrict the contact with the violent partner and direct that all communication be via ourselves to prevent the violent partner from attempting to exert pressure over our client if direct contact were continuing (by phone, text or otherwise).
How will our money and property be split between us?
The way in which a family’s assets are divided on divorce is complex and a whole range of factors are taken into account as follows:
(a) the income, earning capacity (including any increase in such capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a spouse to take steps to acquire), property and other financial resources which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(b) the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(c) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
(d) the age of each spouse and the duration of the marriage (including relevant seamless pre-registration cohabitation);
(e) any physical or mental disability of either of the spouses;
(f) the contributions which each spouse has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
(g) the conduct of each spouse if in the opinion of the court it would be inequitable to disregard such;
(h) the value of any benefit (including pension benefits) which the spouse will lose the chance of acquiring
For more information you should make an appointment with one of our expert divorce solicitors to discuss your particular circumstances.
What experience do you have of dealing with very wealthy clients?
Oftentimes, cases involving wealthy clients (including high earners and those with substantial capital assets) are, for want of a better description, termed ‘high net worth’ divorce cases.
All of the lawyers at Josiah-Lake Gardiner have experience not only of dealing with divorce cases where the assets are more modest, but also those involving very substantial assets, including inherited wealth, ownership of or interest in business assets, off shore assets, trusts, property and stock portfolios and pensions.
Our experience of dealing with high net worth divorces, including reported cases, makes us well placed to advise and assist you.
Can you help with international divorce?
Yes, although international divorce cases are particularly complicated, as financial and other outcomes can differ enormously from country to country. A particular factual situation may produce a very different result if adjudicated outside of the UK and so a lot depends on where the divorce takes place. In international divorce law, the fact that a marriage took place in a particular country does not mean that the divorce also has to take place in that country.
Equally, if you were married in or have lived most of the time in England, it may be advantageous to one of you to be divorced in another country with which there is a connection.
Accordingly, if either you or your spouse has international connections, we can advise you on choosing the best country in which to file for divorce. If the divorce has already started in another jurisdiction, we can partner with divorce lawyers to ensure that you are properly represented.
We can also advise you in respect of arrangements for any children who may be required to fly between different countries to spend time with each parent. Also, if required, we can seek freezing injunctions (including worldwide orders) where there is a concern that assets may be placed out of the court’s reach.
How long will it take to get divorced?
Generally, it will take between 5 and 8 months from the date of the filing of the divorce petition to the date of the decree absolute. However, the length of time will always depend upon your particular circumstances.
I know my marriage is in trouble, but I don’t want to get divorced; can we just separate?
We understand that there may be many reasons why you would not want to formally end your marriage; these could be religious or you may be of the view/hope that it may be possible to work through the problems.
However, should you decide that you simply want a separation rather than a divorce, the issues relating to your family finances and to the arrangements for the children can be addressed, often in the same way as if you were divorcing.
In England and Wales there is only one ground for divorce and that is – that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The fact of such irretrievable breakdown must be evidenced by one (or more) of five supporting facts, the first three of which are the ‘fault facts’: