Divorce / Separation & Dissolution Proceedings

Family Law

Specialist Divorce Lawyers To Advise and Guide In Difficult Times

The divorce lawyers at Hopkins Law are some of the most respected and experienced in the UK. We strive to resolve family disputes in a conciliatory manner by negotiated agreement. However, where court proceedings are necessary, we have the expertise to run such cases decisively and effectively.

A common misconception is that no fault divorces are available. This is not the case, as without a separation of at least two years (and unless both parties agree) or at least five years it is simply not possible to obtain a no-fault divorce.

The two most common grounds for divorce tend to proceed on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. In all cases, we are able to act in a discreet manner, minimising distress for both parties.

We Have Expertise In Dealing With Dissolution Proceedings of Civil Partnerships

Separation Solicitors Who Look After Your Best Interests

When a couple separates there are various provisions for dealing with the complications regarding financial matters, property and children. It is therefore essential to obtain advice to make you aware of the legal implications of your situation.

There are many misconceptions regarding the separation of married and cohabiting couples. At Hopkins Law, our specialist separation lawyers will run through your situation and your options, bringing you a better understanding of the steps you may wish to take.

Reasons you may consider contacting Hopkins Law regarding separation
Your spouse may have decided to separate from you
You may feel that a short break may benefit your marriage to enable reconciliation in the future
A cooling off period – breathing space
You and your partner are not ready to divorce or are not able to
You may already be living separate lives
You may view it as a stepping stone to divorce – or you suspect it’s the intention of your spouse

Hopkins Divorce Lawyers

Accepted Grounds For Divorce

To prove irretrievable breakdown, the Petitioner must establish one or more of the following:

  • that the Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent (adultery);
  • that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent (unreasonable behaviour);
  • that the Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition (desertion);
  • that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the Respondent consents to a decree being granted (2 years separation by consent);
  • that the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition (5 years separation).

Fixed Fee Divorces

For privately paying clients seeing one of our selected specialist solicitors, we charge £600 plus VAT and disbursements (including court fees) for a straightforward divorce with no ancillary issues involving children and/or finances or other complicating factors.

In all cases the court will charge a petition fee (currently £550 )unless you are in receipt of benefits or have a low income, in which case you may be eligible for a fee exemption for all or part of the court fees.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations or your partner has sought a divorce then it’s time for expert legal advice – we can advise you on your situation and your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

By filling in a form called a Petition and taking it to any Divorce County Court or to the Principal Registry in London.

There is only one ground for Divorce that being that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Court will accept one or more of the following factors as proof:

i. That your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them;

ii. That your spouse’s behaviour has been so bad that you can no longer bear to live with them;

iii. Your spouse deserted you at least two years ago;

iv. You have lived apart for at least two years and your spouse agrees to a divorce;

v. That you have lived apart for at least five years.

You must both have your permanent homes in England or Wales when the petition is commenced or

You must both be living in England or Wales when the petition is started or

You must both have had your last home in England or Wales and one of you must still be resident here when the petition is started or

You or your spouse must be living in England or Wales when the petition is started or

You must have been living in England or Wales for at least a year on the day the petition was started or

You must have your permanent home in England or Wales and have been here for at least six months on the day the petition is started.

No – provided either of you satisfy the residence requirements as set out above.

You may have to pay a Court fee to issue the Divorce petition and to apply for the Decree Absolute. You may not have to pay the Court fee or only a contribution to the Court fee depending on your circumstances. For further information or to apply for a fee concession, download form EX160A at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk.

You can contact the office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the District in which you were married. You will have to pay a fee and they will let you know how much it is.

You will need to have this translated by an expert who will swear / affirm that the translation is accurate.

You can start your petition in any Divorce County Court or in the Principal Registry in London. A list of Divorce County Courts can be downloaded at HMCS.

No – only those who still need your care and financial support because of their age and circumstances. The Court will be concerned with any child who was born to you and your spouse or who has been treated by you as though they were born to you who is under 16 years of age or between 16 and 18 and still at college or full time school. These children are referred to ‘as children of the family’ and include children you have both adopted but does not include foster children.

The Court must consider the arrangements you propose for the children after the divorce. The Court can, in exceptional circumstances, hold up the Decree Absolute until satisfactory arrangements are made for them.

No – the financial matters do not need to be agreed but it is very wise to do so especially as you may lose the right in certain circumstances to have your financial situation considered by the Court.

Yes – provided you lead completely separate lives whilst under the same roof eg, you sleep in separate bedrooms, carry out your own domestic duties, cook, eat socialise etc separately.

An undefended Divorce will usually take between four and six months.

If you cannot find out from asking family and friends you may need to engage the services of a tracing agent. We can assist you in this regard. There will be a fee payable and the amount will depend on the individual circumstances.

You can carry out a search of the Central Index of Decree Absolutes at the Principal Registry of the Family Division. There is a Court fee payable.

Yes – please email us for further details.

How Can We Help You?

We also offer consultations in Welsh and French.

I have previously emailed about how amazing Sally was during my divorce which settled in December of last year.
Following a recent issue with my ex husband not abiding by the agreement reached in relation to our daughter’s university accommodation I had to call upon her help again and just wanted to take the time to say how fantastic she has been.
Sally is truly an asset to your firm, professional yet personable and just a wonderful person to deal with when facing testing times.
I have always had the utmost faith and confidence in her and her advice and she has taken so much pressure away from me (and my daughter) over the last 2.5 years.
I cannot thank her enough and in a world where we’re all too quick to point out errors feel it’s important to commend those who go above and beyond, of which she is such a person.
I’m sure you already know this about her but I just wanted to say thank you once again. She’s a star and I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone finding themselves in the position I have been in.
I am more than happy for my comments to be shared/used. Thank you Sally, hopefully this will now be the end of it (again), but I wouldn’t hesitate to either recommend her or return should the need ever arise.

S H Testimonial

I have known Rhian Howells for over 5 years and always find her to be approachable, honest and reliable.
Rhian has a manner which enables her to impart her extensive knowledge of law in a way that one can understand, and always has your interest to heart.
I have and would have no hesitation in recommended Rhian.

S Testimonial

Thank you once again, it’s been a draining year on a number of levels, however, I very much appreciate your patience, support and guidance throughout the whole process. I genuinely feel like a different person this morning and you have been an integral part of achieving that
I really can’t express just how pleased I have been with Sally, nothing was ever too much trouble for her, her advice was always sound and she is very personable as well which makes things a whole lot easier. I will recommend Sally to anyone finding themselves in the position I did. I cannot thank or praise her enough, she really is an asset.
Thank you once again

S

S Testimonial

Dear Hopkins Law:
I want to thank you for service and counseling. I especially want to thank Sally for going above and beyond to make my fiancé feel safe and comforted over the course of her court journey. Sally represented my fiancé on many different occasions and each time her personal touches truly meant the world to us. Thanks to Sally our dreams are coming true. We can be a family. As this year comes to an end, I’m receiving the best birthday and Christmas gift ever…My family being able to relocate with me. On behalf of my fiancé and our children, thank you. Our lives will forever be changed for the better. We highly recommend Sally and Hopkins Law to everyone.
Best wishes,

J

J Testimonial

Hi Sally
I am very grateful for all your help. Walking into your Cowbridge office was the best decision I could have made.
Your help, which you gave for free when we first met, was really kind and really appreciated.
Due to the way you treated us, we were happy that whatever the result at court we had received the best representation possible. As it happened we were successful and couldn’t be happier.
I am really grateful for your hard work. thanks again for everything

Mark

Mark Testimonial

To discuss any aspect of divorce law with an expert divorce solicitor, please contact us