Divorce Solicitors You Can Trust
If your marriage has come to an end, you will need a divorce lawyer you can trust. Our team of dedicated and compassionate family law solicitors have been advising people in your situation since 2010, helping families reach comfortable and fair resolutions.
Our specialist divorce and family law firm is ranked Tier 1 in the Legal 500, offering you the best of the best in family law.
For expert guidance and a sensitive helping hand
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Our Divorce Law Services
From questions about family law proceedings to specialist divorce law, our team is here to help.
Divorce and financial settlements
- The divorce and financial settlement process is complicated, which is why our specialist family law solicitors are here to guide you on the division of assets and living arrangements.
- Child arrangements are one of the most difficult challenges of separation. Our team are experts at handling divorces with children and also where couples are not married, and we will keep you informed during your children case.
Handling divorce, solicitors’ letters and communications
- We will guide you on how to react and properly deal with a divorce letter if you receive one from a family law solicitor, and how to reply to protect yourself.
Divorce representation in the family court
- At this stressful and difficult time, we will represent you in a divorce family court or children court, making sure you and your family’s needs are taken care of and heard.
Divorce, injunctions and uncontested cases
- Divorce proceedings do not always go to plan, which is why we offer expert family law guidance on divorce and injunctions. We will also make any uncontested divorce proceedings proceed smoothly.
Discover your entitlement
- Each party will outline their divorce claims and entitlements including child and spousal maintenance (financial support), outgoings and other finances, such as the house or car. We’ll work with you to secure the best settlement.
Help and advice throughout divorce proceedings
- Our divorce solicitors are here to answer all your questions on the divorce process, procedure and timetables. Contact us for help and advice throughout the divorce and separation process.
Understanding divorce laws and your rights
- Divorce laws and rules come with a lot of detail depending on your circumstances. We will guide you through your rights and tailor your case based on your unique and personal situation.
Expertise in LGBTQ+ divorce
- Same-sex couple separation differs slightly from heterosexual marriages, so we will guide you through the ‘four fact’ process.
- We also offer expert divorce solicitors who can help in relation to Islamic divorces in the family court, to help both husbands and wives.
International divorce specialists
- Our international divorce specialists will guide you through your questions and concerns on divorce jurisdiction, relocation of children, child abduction, child arrangements and more.
What are grounds for a divorce?
From the 6th of April 2022, England and Wales ushered in a transformative “no fault” divorce system, marking a compassionate turn in the legal approach towards marital dissolutions.
Underpinning the new system is a simplified rationale for divorce. A divorce application now merely requires the confirmation of an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. Gone is the obligation to specify or substantiate claims through the citing of reasons such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or periods of separation.
How long does a divorce take?
Usually an uncontested divorce process takes about four to six months to complete. This is mainly due to the court turn around times. Any issues to do with the children or finances could take longer, often between six and twelve months. It is always worth seeking the advice of a family law specialist to ensure that the process is fully and properly completed and that you have fully investigated the financial implications involved. You can find advice to ensure your divorce is as quick & easy as possible here.
Do I need a solicitor for a divorce?
Whilst you do not need a solicitor for a simple divorce, it is highly recommended. Even if you and your partner are separating amicably, you may need help to come to a financial settlement or make arrangements for your children. It is important that such divorce/financial, separation or children agreements are properly recorded and approved by the family court.
What are the benefits and risks of not using a divorce solicitor?
A divorce solicitor can help you to decide on which of the ‘five facts’ is applicable to your divorce – the reasons for your separation. They can also represent you in court and negotiate the best settlement. If you do not have a solicitor, you may risk not getting the financial settlement you deserve, or not seeing your children as often as you would like or their best interest not being properly taken into account.
Do you offer fixed fee rates?
At Maguire Family Law, we offer a fixed fee initial consultation that takes into account all the details that are personal to our clients and their case. We offer a roadmap service that involves a consultation, guidance and then the divorce proceedings themselves. We can then provide you with cost information moving forward and advice about how to save legal costs. Speak to one of our expert divorce solicitors today to discover what your options are.
How do I start a Divorce?
A divorce can be started so long as you have been married for at least one year. A divorce petition is prepared and submitted to the court. You can read about the Divorce process here. The other party then receives an acknowledgement form. You can then proceed to the Decree Nisi stage (the interim divorce order) and, after waiting six weeks and one day, you can apply for the Decree Absolute (the final divorce order). Extra care is needed where the case has an international element to it as a divorce could possibly be started in more than one country but the financial outcomes might be significantly different.
How much will a divorce cost?
An average undefended divorce usually costs in the region of £500-1000 + VAT for the solicitor. In addition there is a court fee of £593 to start the proceedings and to obtain the decree absolute at the end. Other cases can be more complicated for example where there is an international element to them . If there are any other issues, for example, in relation to the finances or the children then the costs are likely to be more. We can provide you with a best estimate of costs on a case by case basis and/or as the case progresses to relevant stages.
What should I do in preparation for my meeting with my family law solicitor?
Good preparation will help you. Some useful points to consider are: Prepare a short chronology of your relationship noting any relevant dates and events Prepare a summary of assets, liabilities and income of the family’s finances as best you can Prepare a list of any questions or points you wish to raise or which are a concern for you This will allow your family law solicitor get to grips with the relevant issues straightaway; it will also save time and allow you to get the most out of your first meeting. At the end of the meeting you can consider your list of questions and raise any points which may not have been dealt with. You can also ask your solicitor to summarise (in writing too) the points of advice and the next steps to take. It is important that you are able to form a working relationship with your solicitor and that you can work together as a team. We offer a Roadmap service for our clients at the first initial consultation
What should I know and/or consider before attending court?
Most separating and divorcing couples will resolve the financial and children issues amicably between themselves or with the help of a family solicitor. However there are times when Court proceedings are necessary for a number of reasons. Whether you choose to represent yourself or you have instructed a solicitor or barrister, you can find more advice about how to prepare and plan to appear in court here.
Can I represent myself in court?
Yes – is the short answer. People often do this to save costs or because they cannot afford legal costs. Not all family law cases progress to court, however. There can be three elements to a case; divorce, financial settlement and children. The relevance and complexity depends on the individual case. It can be very difficult to pursue the correct course of action without specialist legal advice. For more information, read our guide on representing yourself in family court here.
What do I need to disclose to my divorce solicitor and what questions should I ask?
You will need to tell your divorce solicitor why you have decided to end your marriage. You should be honest – for example, if you are living with a new partner, you should make this clear. You should outline your main priorities, such as the children’s living arrangements, financial assets and your needs.
You should ask your divorce solicitor who will be handling your case, how much it is likely to cost, whether you are likely to go to court; and what your reasonable expectations should be. This may include children, timescales and living arrangements, for example. There may also be special circumstances such as mediation or a contested divorce, so be prepared if you have questions about this.
What information and documentation are needed to start divorce proceedings?
You should try your best to locate your original marriage certificate or apply for a certified copy. If you got married abroad, you should also try to locate the certified translation. However, if you are unable to locate a copy of your marriage certificate, your solicitor will be able to advise you of other options to overcome this.
Our Specialist Divorce Solicitor Team
What am I entitled to on divorce?
No two cases are ever the same and a 50/50 split is not always appropriate. It is also important to see what is financially at stake, to check that all of the assets and income have been disclosed and that the valuations are accurate. When considering the financial issues [hyperlink], a court is guided by a number of factors to include: the welfare of any minor children income, earning capacity, assets and financial resources financial needs, obligations and responsibilities standard of living age of each party and the length of the marriage health of each party contributions (financial and non-financial) conduct loss of certain rights It is important that specialist family law advice is obtained to consider these points and so that the financial outcome is both fair and reasonable. We will always ensure the best possible outcome for you.
What if my husband or wife will not disclose their finances?
It is important that there is full disclosure of the family’s finances and from both parties. Normally a request is made for voluntary financial disclosure. This includes details of all assets (including business interests), liabilities, income, outgoings and pension provision together with documents in support. Where a party refuses to do this then you are entitled (through getting a divorce) to make a financial application. The Court will then automatically set a court timetable for certain tasks to be completed. One of those tasks is the preparation and exchange of financial information in a form called ‘Form E’. You are then entitled to consider the financial disclosure and prepare relevant questions if you and your solicitor feel more information or clarification is needed.
Can I get help to pay a mortage and bills?
This can be an immediate concern when a relationship breaks down. The focus should be to agree a level of interim maintenance to ensure that the mortgage and bills are paid. Sometimes tax credits become available which can supplement a person’s income. However, if an agreement cannot be reached then you do have the right to apply to a court (through a divorce) for interim maintenance and/or to apply to the Child Maintenance Service for child support maintenance. Seek advice from us and we can help to make any necessary applications for you.
What will I be entitled to as part of the separation agreement?
This depends on your individual situation and on what you can actually agree. The separation agreement itself will outline your entitlement to assets and responsibilities, property, personal effects, financial assets, joint debts, child maintenance, ‘lump sum’ payments, and the provision for divorce. This states that both parties agree and aims to reach a settlement on how assets are divided and implemented.
What happens with a family business in divorce?
There are numerous potential outcomes on what happens to a family business in a divorce. Depending on the particulars of your situation; here are a few common resolutions:
- One party maintains control of the enterprise – the other party will receive compensation, possibly through a lump-sum payment or alimony, or a mix of the two.
- Both parties become shareholders – there is no need to sell the business, and both parties share the risk. A shareholders’ agreement must be drafted to safeguard the interests of the enterprise and all other shareholders.
- Transfer of shares – this is appropriate in scenarios where only one party will continue to manage the enterprise, yet both parties hold ownership.
- Selling the business or shares – courts typically only mandate the sale of a business or shares under extraordinary conditions where no other resolution ensures equity and one party is unable to “buy out” the other. Should this course of action be taken, the court ought to grant sufficient time for the sale to ensure a fair price can be secured.
Will I have to sell my house on divorce?
Whether or not the family home has to be sold will depend on the facts of your case. In most cases one of the concerns is how everyone (including the children) are to be accommodated. The parties will eventually separate and where there was one home there will then be two. This can mean that the family home is sold and the net proceeds of sale are divided so that everyone can find a new home. This does not necessarily mean, however, that there will be an equal split of the money. We can provide you with advice in relation to the finances. Much depends on everyone’s needs and what is in the matrimonial pot. It may also be possible to postpone the sale of the family home until the children have left home or to offset the family home against other assets (including pensions) so that the property can be retained. Legal advice should be obtained to see what relevant options are available.
Where will the children live?
The living arrangements for the children will need to be carefully considered when parents separate. In a lot of cases the parents are able to reach an agreement about what time the children will spend with each of them. This might not be easy but remember that although you have rights, more importantly, the children have a right to see their parents and to spend time with each of them. Where parents cannot agree matters then the court can assist. This can be by way of a child arrangements order (previously a residence order and/or a contact order). In some cases the child arrangements can be shared. A judge can appoint a welfare officer (known as a Cafcass officer) to prepare a report to assist the court in reaching a decision. What is most important is the welfare of the children and what is in their best interests. There are many books available to help discuss divorce and separation with your children. Have a look at our reading list
Can I change the locks?
You may be entitled to change the locks but the other party might be entitled to change the locks back again. You should seek advice from us to check your position and entitlement. Where there is a concern about your safety, it might be appropriate to contact the police or seek an injunction order.
What’s the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?
Before the law changed in April 22, an uncontested divorce was a mutual agreement between both parties, where both partners were ready to divorce. This was often simple and did not require you to appear in court. A contested divorce was one in which one partner or both did not agree with the divorce. For example, they may not have agreed with one of the ‘five facts’ such as unreasonable behaviour. These proceedings were often more costly, time-consuming and stressful. Since April 22, the law in England and Wales has changed so that there is only one cause of divorce – that a relationship has irretrievably broken down. This has removed the option for a divorce to be contested.
What is a family law injunction?
An injunction is a court order that forbids somebody else from carrying out an act. Often it can be used to prevent violence, intimidation, abuse or harassment. However, in some cases, it may be related to property – such as preventing one partner from living in the family home. There are also financial injunctions, for example, to freeze property or assets.
Are divorce and separation different? What are the pros and cons of each?
The main difference between divorce and separation is that divorce legally ends a marriage, whereas separation does not. You can only remarry after a divorce. A separation can be legal for example a ‘judicial separation’ and there are some similarities with a divorce. For example, you no longer have to live together, and the Family Court can decide how your assets should be divided. However, you are still married and there is no financial clean break between you, which is important.
The benefit of a separation is that there is no time limit, whereas couples need to be married for a year and a day before they can divorce. You don’t need to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, although you will need to use one of the ‘five facts’ of divorce.
The benefits of divorce are that you can remarry and you can divide and share pensions. If would like more information please speak to one of our divorce solicitors.
We are not married, does that make a difference?
Yes, the fact that you are not married can make a significant difference. There is no such thing as a ‘common law’ husband or wife. The legal rights and remedies might be limited to the family home and how this is owned. Where there are children, however, it might be possible to make an additional claim for financial provision for a child under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989. Child maintenance will also need to be considered.
What about civil partnerships?
A civil partnership is a lawful relationship available to two unrelated individuals. It carries the same legal responsibilities as marriage. However, unlike marriage, which is formalised through the exchange of vows, a civil partnership is established by signing a legal document. Read more about the difference here.
How do pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement affect my divorce?