Divorce & Separation Services
Get the right divorce advice now
In all aspects of Family Law, the lawyers at Sanders Witherspoon LLP abide by the Code of Practice of Resolution, an organisation of more than 6,000 members committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.
The Code of Practice promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Members encourage solutions that consider the whole family – and in particular the best interests of the children (if there are children involved).
We are able to explain to you the divorce procedure step by step and help you to make sense of the various documents, court forms and help you to prepare divorce papers whether you are the Petitioner (bring the case) or the Respondent (replying to the Petitioner’s paperwork).
In appropriate cases, we can put you in to touch with a mediator who may be able to help you reach an amicable settlement and even save you legal fees. We are also able to advise you about other proceedings such as claims for maintenance, transfer of property, lump sum orders or issues concerning children.
When we take a case on, we investigate it thoroughly, working closely with the best specialist Family Law barristers and other legal experts.
Where possible we'll also advise you about other proceedings such as claims for maintenance, transfer of property, lump sum orders or issues concerning children.
What is the divorce process?
If you are looking to get divorces in England or Wales, you need to meet the following criteria
- you’ve been married for a year or more
- you think your relationship has permanently broken down
- your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)
- the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent residence of your husband or wife
You'll need to make sure that you have grounds for divorce (see the causes below).
See our guide on how to get a divorce in the UK for more.
What are the main causes of divorce?
Before a divorce can be granted, one year has to have elapsed from the date of the marriage and the court has to be satisfied that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. This is proven by one of five facts.
- Adultery – the other person has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them.
- Unreasonable behaviour – the other person has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
- Desertion – the other person has deserted you for a continuous period of two years.
- Two Years Separation – the two of you have lived apart for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and that the other person agrees to be divorced.
- Five Years Separation – the two of you have lived apart for a continuous period of five years and no consent is required.
Do I have grounds for divorce?
Sanders Witherspoon LLP can advise which facts best apply to your particular case. We can advise on defending a petition for Divorce where appropriate.
In order to start divorce proceedings, we will need your original marriage certificate or a certified copy.
If the court is satisfied that the facts apply in your case, the judge will grant a Decree Nisi, unless there are appropriate grounds for defending the case. If the Decree Nisi is granted, a period of six weeks then has to elapse before the court will pronounce the Decree Absolute, which finalises the Divorce and is irrevocable.
How long does it take to get divorced?
There are no set time scales as each individual’s circumstances are unique. Generally the most straight forward divorces take about four to six months. Sorting out complex financial disputes, especially where houses or business assets are involved can take much longer.
What are the costs of divorce?
If you decide to instruct us, we will provide full details of costs and how these are calculated at the initial meeting before any legal work is undertaken. For uncontested divorces we are able to offer a fixed fee so that you can be sure of what our costs will be from the outset.
Sanders Witherspoon LLP offer a one hour initial consultation for £150.00 plus VAT in which we can discuss your matter with you and provide you with our best estimate of how much your matter will cost overall, how long it will take and what to expect at the end of it.
What happens after a divorce petition has been filed?
If you have received a divorce Petition then you should not delay matters and should get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can arrange a meeting to review it with you and explain what every part means. We can also help you complete the forms which must return to the court. If you plan to defend the proceedings we can discuss this with you as well.
What are the alternatives to divorce?
Divorce proceedings are not the only option if you cannot carry one living together. There are other options open to you apart from starting divorce proceedings which can be explained to you. We can also help you prepare any documents that may be needed to record the separation.
Can I get an online divorce?
Often people think that it is quicker and easier to apply for a divorce online without involving a solicitor.
This is not the case as no matter whether a divorce is applied for online or through a solicitor, the process will still take roughly four to six months if both sides agree.
Applying online offers no guidance or legal advice and support in the matter and will not advise you on important points of law. So although it might seem easier to apply online, it is much better to meet face to face with a solicitor to discuss the details of your individual matter.
“From start to finish this company provided a professional outstanding service to myself and my family at a very difficult time. The communication was consistent throughout the process from everyone involved in our case and this reflected in the positive, successful outcome we had so desperately hoped for. ” - Nikki Yianni - Family Law Client
What to Expect
Our primary concern is always the children and we take a mediation first approach.
We offer an initial 1 hour consultation for a fixed fee of £150+VAT
Over 50 Years' Experience
A team of specialists in each field, we're ready to offer advice and representation.