Legal separation and divorce are rarely easy and straightforward; bringing out high emotion, stress and worry about the future, for you and any children involved.
You’ll be making life-changing decisions about your home, finances and children which is why it’s essential to work with a compassionate, understanding and professional team of divorce solicitors.
Our family lawyers will be able to advise on mediation, Collaborative Law and how any court proceedings will progress and they will keep you informed throughout every stage.
You’ll receive clear legal advice as to how long it is likely to take as well an initial estimate of the likely costs involved with this being regularly updated.
We can also offer Legal Aid in certain cases so if you feel you would be eligible then do let us know.
If you think your relationship has irretrievably broken down, call us for expert advice as to where you stand and then let us guide you through the divorce process and help you make a fresh start in life.
Caring, constructive and non-confrontational
Our team of divorce solicitors are members of ‘Resolution’, which is a group of around 5,000 independent Family Lawyers who are committed to easing the pain and financial cost of relationship breakdowns.
We follow a Code which encourages the lawyers acting for both parties to work towards a fair settlement of all disputes by adopting, where possible, a constructive and non-confrontational approach to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family members.
Divorce and Children
If you have children with your partner then they need to have their interests equally protected and the Courts will see this as a priority.
All too often disputes as to where children should live and how often they should see their other parent arise when a relationship breaks down and can do so right up to the time your children become adults.
You will want the best interests of the children to be your main priority and our team can advise you as to how best they can be protected.
Our experience tells us that the more both parties can see that what is best for the children, the less will be the impact of your separation on them.
If your marriage has broken down, the emotional strain can be enormous. You may find that you need urgent action to be taken in order to protect your financial position.
It can be difficult to think of all the practical issues that need to be resolved in relation to individual and joint finances and any property owned by one or both of you.
This is when you need expert advice from a solicitor who can ensure that your position and long-term future is protected.
Our team of divorce solicitors can help and advise you on:
- Short & long-term financial support for you
- Financial support for your children
- Who pays for what
- What happens to the house
- What happens to savings, investments, pensions and other assets
We can work alongside, or recommend, accountants and independent financial advisors as well as the Courts should they be asked to make an order based on any settlement.
Our clients tell us that once they have spoken to us they feel clearer about what they are entitled to and more confident about their ability to deal with the journey.
If you are thinking of separating, are already divorced, or you are in the process of divorcing and you would like advice from a family law solicitor about your financial settlement, get in touch with our specialist solicitors in Liverpool or Southport.
Our team of specialist divorce lawyers at Brown Turner Ross have significant experience and success in dealing with some of the most complex and high net worth cases, learn more here
Learn More About Divorce
Am I entitled to a divorce?
To be eligible for a divorce you must have been married for at least one year and you will – ’ need to establish that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and can rely on one of the following facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation (2 years)
- Separation (5 years)
To petition for divorce as the aggrieved party of adultery, you cannot have lived with your partner for more than six months after you became aware of the adultery.
Unreasonable behaviour can be a broad fact, but it most commonly includes violence (physical or verbal), substance abuse, and not contributing towards shared expenses. Discovering you are incompatible is not an acceptable fact when presented on its own, but the reasons behind the incompatibility may be found to classify as unreasonable behaviour. The reality is that you must establish that you cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with your spouse
If your spouse has been absent for at least two years, then you can apply for divorce on the grounds of desertion.
If you and your spouse both agree to divorce and have been separated for at least two years, then you can apply for divorce on the grounds of separation. If your spouse does not agree to divorce, then you will have to be separated for at least five years to apply for divorce.
How does the divorce process work?
The process can work slightly differently depending on if you and your partner are in agreement on the divorce.
The individual who initiates the divorce process is referred to as the petitioner. Their spouse is referred to as the respondent. It will be the petitioner’s solicitor who will move the process along and who will be responsible for enquiring with the respondent’s solicitor if there are any issues.
When the petitioner starts the divorce process, they will have to pay the court fee of £550, which can be fully or partially repaid by the respondent at the end of the process.
The respondent will then receive a copy of the divorce documents. It is here where a respondent who supports the divorce can help the process along by promptly confirming receipt of the documents and stating that they are not going to defend the divorce.
A judge will review the paperwork and identify the facts that show the marriage has broken beyond repair. If everything is in order, the judge will approve a Decree Nisi, and the certificate will then be sent in the post. 43 days after that, the petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute. Once this has been granted, you are legally divorced.
If the respondent wants to defend the divorce from the beginning then they can end up making the proceedings rather more lengthy and costly. For example, you will need to attend a specific court hearing to attain a Decree Nisi.
As members of Resolution, we advise that you can hasten the divorce process by attending counselling or mediation before petitioning for divorce, demonstrating to the courts that both parties have acknowledged the course of events to follow.
A mediation information and assessment meeting can be particularly helpful for reaching a pre-agreement on issues like finance, assets, and dependants in a non-confrontational manner, as well as potentially speeding up the divorce process. The judge will want to be sure that there are considerate agreements on any dependants too, and mediation can often be the most constructive way to decide on how to act in the children’s best interests.
What does it mean that we are part of Resolution?
Resolution is an organisation that has operating since 1982, training family law professionals to promote a more constructive method in resolving family disputes.
To be a member of Resolution means committing to their Code of Practice which, among other things, includes:
- Avoiding the use of inflammatory language, written or spoken, to reduce conflict and confrontation
- Encouraging clients to put the best interests of any children first
- Considering the long term consequences of actions and communications as well as the short term implications
Resolution frequently publish Good Practice Guides that advise on the best way to work with clients, which all of the family lawyers at our firm study and commit to following.
For our clients, our status as Resolution members means that you can expect us to behave fairly and treat both parties with respect. We will never seek to antagonise the other party or purposefully lengthen the divorce process when it can be avoided.
Further information can be obtained at resolution.org.uk
Will I have to go to court in person to get a divorce?
No, you and your spouse will not necessarily need to be present in court to proceed with your divorce. If you are both in agreement on the often contentious points such as finances and dependants, then this can save you the hassle of having to go to court.
On top of this, as we are members of Resolution, we advocate for family lawyers to resolve divorce disputes in a non-confrontational way and putting in the time to negotiate your next steps without having to attend a Decree Nisi court hearing will not only limit confrontation but also limit court fees, leaving you and your family better prepared to deal with your immediate futures.
What is Legal Aid and am I entitled to it?
The Legal Aid Authority can provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford to pay for legal costs such as for seeking legal advice or representation.
Unfortunately, legal aid has been withdrawn for the majority of divorce cases, aside from those that meet a limited criteria. Examples of this include if you or your children have been the victim of domestic violence or if you are at risk of homelessness.
While at first glance legal aid may appear to be a free payment, there are often statutory charges that come with this help, and you may be required to pay back some of the costs at a later date if you receive or preserve assets following the outcome of the case.
We can offer legal aid in some cases so if you feel like you will be eligible for then let us know.
Other ways our solicitors can help: