Guide to Divorce and Separation

There are many reasons why someone may feel their marriage has broken down.  If you have received a Divorce Petition or are looking to start the Divorce process yourself, the Family Team at Hodge Halsall can help you.

You must have been married for at least a year before you can commence Divorce Proceedings.  You also have to show that your relationship with your spouse has irretrievably broken down as this is the only ground for Divorce in English Law. We are awaiting a no-fault divorce process at the time of writing this article and so you should check the current legal position with one of our legal team at the time you decide to commence divorce proceedings.  As at 2020, you must be able to prove irretrievable breakdown by relying upon one of the following 5 Divorce Petitions:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • 2 years separation (with the consent of your spouse)
  • 5 years separation 
  • Desertion

The main stages to the process are the same as those which apply to civil partnership dissolution and are as follows:

  1. Issue one of the above 5 Divorce Petitions at Court (with the exception you cannot issue an adultery petition for those seeking a civil parternship dissolution)
  1. The other person files an Acknowledgment of Service document in response
  1. The Petitioner applies to Court for the first stage of Divorce, known as Decree Nisi
  1. A final Application is made for the Decree to become Absolute

You can only apply for a Decree Absolute 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of Decree Nisi and you should always seek legal advice before taking this final step, particularly when you do not have a Court Order in relation to the finances of the marriage.

Our Family Team can advise you in relation to the finances on Divorce, to include the full options in relation to the family home, possible spousal maintenance and pension sharing claims.  

If you wish to change your surname as a result of the marriage breakdown, we also offer a Change of Name service under a fixed fee package.

No case is ever the same and the process and amount of assistance you request can vary.  We therefore offer a number of packages also in relation to the Divorce Proceedings, each within a fixed price, so that you can obtain legal assistance with the guarantee you know exactly what you need to pay.  These costs do not include any legal costs in relation to the finances on divorce and any issues in relation to children.

Type of Divorce
Advice Included

Simple Divorce– 30 minutes consultation
– Assistance completing the Petition
– Provision of the appropriate blank Court Forms after the Divorce Petition
– Provision of a ‘Guide to Divorce Proceedings’ to assist you throughout the process
£250.00 plus VAT
Managed Divorce– Initial 30 minutes consultation
– We complete the Divorce Petition and subsequent Divorce Applications for you in the Divorce process
– We send the above documentation to Court on your behalf when required
– We deal with the correspondence to and from the Court on your behalf
– Second further meeting, if necessary (limited to advice in relation to the Divorce process)
£599.00 plus VAT plus Court disbursements
BespokeIf your Divorce is complicated, for instance it involves international issues or you are unaware of your spouse’s address or they wish to contest the divorce, one of our fixed packages may not be suitable for you.  Our team would discuss this with you at the outset of the case.  In such circumstances, we offer a bespoke service where we agree an hourly rate and update you as to costs at regular intervals so you know exactly what your costs of Divorce process will be. 


– Initial consultation
– Fixed hourly rate
– Unlimited access to your Solicitor
– We prepare all the necessary Court documents and correspond with the Court and your spouse’s Solicitor as necessary
– If required, we attend Court on your behalf
Agreed hourly rate plus VAT and disbursements
RespondentHave you been served with a Divorce Petition and are unsure as to how to proceed and need some assistance? 
– Initial consultation with Solicitor
– Advice as to your options
– Assistance completing the appropriate Court paperwork as a Respondent
– Provision of ‘Guide to Divorce Proceedings’
£200 plus VAT

For more information about anything mentioned above or how to move forward with your Divorce or Dissolution, call our Family Law Solicitors, who will explain the next steps.

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