Can I get divorced?

You can get divorced if all of the following apply to you:

  • you have been married or in a civil partnership for more than one year.
  • your relationship with your partner has irretrievably broken down based one or more of the following grounds: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two-year separation with consent, or five-year separation.
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK.
  • your permanent home is in the UK.

Please come and discuss your situation with the family law team and we can advise you of your legal situation. In some cases, it may also be possible to annul your marriage.

How do you get a divorce?

After you have confirmed that you are able to get a divorce, then you must apply for a divorce. This involves filing a divorce application or divorce petition and we can help you fill this out and gather the appropriate documents that will need to be submitted for the application. For one, you will need to have your original marriage certificate or a certified copy, and if it is not in English have a certified translation made. We can explain the various steps and walk you through the whole process.

Do I have to divorce, can we just separate?

Yes, you can just separate. However, there are different legal implications when it comes to a separation and a divorce. Generally, a divorce will carry bigger legal weight than a separation and you may be entitled to more assets under a divorce than a separation. Our family law team can advise you on what exactly the legal differences are and what option will best suit your circumstances.

Will I have to go to Court?

The short answer is no, you do not have to Court. However, this will depend very much on whether you and your partner can negotiate and come to amicable agreements. Our family law teams are happy to mediate and help with negotiations. However, if you are unable to come to an agreement with your partner, then the only solution is to go to Court.

What about arrangements for children on separation?

If you have a child or children, you and your partner should try to come to an agreement on child arrangements. Sometimes this can be difficult and the family law team at Downs can help mediate discussions, especially when it comes to issues like who will support the child(ren) financially, where will the child(ren) live, and how much time the child(ren) will spend with each parent. Some of these arrangements should be made legally binding and we can help prepare the paperwork for that. If it is not possible to come to an agreement through mediation, experienced solicitors at Downs can represent you in Court.

How much does it cost?

The cost of your divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership will depend heavily on how complicated it is and how long it takes. A very straightforward case, where both parties amicably negotiate a financial settlement and the splitting of assets and child arrangements, if required, will cost much less than if no amicable financial settlement can be reached and your case has to go to Court. But don’t let cost be a hindrance, come and talk to us at Downs and we can give you an estimate of how much your case may cost. Additionally, depending on your circumstances, we do offer a fixed fee divorce package.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Depending on your financial situation, you can get Legal Aid. If your income is low and your financial means are limited, you may be entitled to waive some of your court or tribunal fees. There are numerous eligibility criteria, based on your income, savings and benefits. However, as a general rule, if you earn £1,170 or less a month before tax, then you are eligible. Also, you can receive Legal Aid, if you are separating from an abusive partner.