Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce, Separation & Dissolution

How Do I Get A Divorce?

By completing an Application online.

What Are The Grounds For Divorce?

There is only one ground for Divorce, that being that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. An Applicant can apply or couples can agree to file a no fault Application.

Must I live in this country to get a divorce here?

You must both have your permanent homes in England or Wales when the Application 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 Application is started or

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

You must have been living in England or Wales for at least a year on the day the Application 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 Application is started.

Does it matter if either or both of us are foreign nationals?

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

How much will a divorce cost?

You may have to pay a Court fee to issue the Application and to apply for the Divorce Order. 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

What if I cannot find the Marriage Certificate?

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.

What if my Marriage Certificate is in a foreign language?

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

How do I start my Divorce?

You can start your Application online at

Will the Court be concerned with older children of the marriage?

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.

Do the financial matters between us need to be agreed before the Divorce starts?

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.

Can we still get a Divorce if we still live together?

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

How long does a straightforward Divorce take?

An undefended Divorce will no take at least 26 weeks.

What if I don't know my spouse's current address?

A postal or e-mail address can be used for service. 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.

How can I find out if I am already divorced?

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.

Do you advise in relation to sorting out finances?

Yes – please email us for further details.

Children Law

Child Abduction

We Are Child Abduction Solicitors
When a relationship breaks down it can be very difficult to decide where children should live after the separation – this becomes more problematic when the two parents live in different countries. However, any parent who simply takes a child to a different country without consent is committing a criminal offence.

We know how traumatic such an event can be and we will act immediately to return your child to you through the appropriate legal channels.

Proceedings are commonly held in the High Court in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. We regularly travel to London to attend the courts and can accompany you or be there on your behalf.

NOTE: If you suspect that your child has been, or is about to be, abducted please contact us IMMEDIATELY as swift action is essential in these cases.

You can call us immediately on 029 2039 5888 or you can contact Kerry Mordey HERE

What is Child Abduction?
Parental child abduction is when a person connected to the child takes them away from their country of residence without the appropriate consent.

If all of the following exist, it is likely that the parent remaining behind can instigate child abduction proceedings.

  • the child involved must be under 16 years of age
  • the child has been removed from his/her usual country of residence or wrongfully retained in a country which is not their usual country of residence
  • the removal or retention has taken place in breach of rights of custody of the left behind parent
  • the left behind parent was exercising those rights of custody at the time the removal/retention took place

However, there may be a defence to the allegation of abduction, which could be one of the following:

  • The left behind parent consented or acquiesced to the removal of the child
  • The child would be at risk of grave harm if returned
  • The child is now settled in the new country

If your child has been taken out of the UK to a country that has signed up to the Hague Convention or another international agreement, as specialists in that field we will take legal steps to return them to you as quickly as possible.

Where no agreement is in place, we will instruct specialist child abduction lawyers in that jurisdiction.

Legal proceedings are started in the country that the child has been taken to.

Child Abduction to and from the UK, and when it may be lawful
Abduction from the UK

If a child has been abducted to the UK, an urgent application can be made to the English court for the prompt return of the child to his or her home country.

Abduction to the UK

If a child has been abducted from the UK, an urgent application to the courts in the country to which the child has been taken will be required. The laws which apply and the way in which this is done varies between countries.

Abduction to a Hague Convention Country

If a child has been taken to a country which is signed up to the Hague Convention there is a presumption that the abducted child will be returned. There is a timescale of one year in which to apply and defences are limited.

Abduction to a non-Hague Country

Here the procedure is different, and may be slower. What the court may consider differs between countries, and it may not be automatically assumed that a child should be returned to England for their future to be decided by the courts in the UK.

Specific Protocols

Some countries, such as Egypt and Pakistan, have bi-lateral protocols in place setting out the considerations which will apply in such cases, and making provision for judicial co-operation between the two countries. We will be able to advise you on the specific laws relating to the country to which your child has been abducted.

When is abduction lawful?

A child can only be removed from England and Wales lawfully with the agreement of everyone who holds parental responsibility for the child, or by a Court Order.

A parent who holds a residence order for a child may take that child out of the UK for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent.

How To Prevent
If you think there may be a risk of abduction, there are various measures you can consider to prevent your child being abducted:

  • Insist that contact is supervised
  • Ask for the child’s and/or parent’s passport to be surrendered – if this is not forthcoming, a Court Order can be applied
  • Apply for a Court Order preventing removal of the child
  • Notify the Passport Agency or Embassy to prevent any further passports being issued for the child
  • Notify the ports and airports that there is a very real danger of child abduction.

In certain cases where the child needs to travel (but there is a concern of abduction) it may be appropriate to consider a form of security, such as a bond or a charge over property which will be forfeited by the child abductor if the child is not returned.

If you suspect a child abduction get in touch immediately.

Swift action is paramount in child abduction cases and if you are suspicious please call us immediately on 029 2039 5888 or please email HERE immediately and we will take action to help protect your child.


  • Child Arrangement Order/Special Guardianship/Adoption applications

There is no automatic entitlement to legal aid for these applications regarding children. However, depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for Legal Aid and following a meeting, we will be able to establish if you are.

If you aren’t entitled to legal aid, we can advise you on what your options are.

  • Care Proceedings

If you are the biological parent or a child who is the subject of the proceedings, you are automatically entitled to legal aid.

If you are neither of the above, you may be eligible depending on your circumstances and following a meeting, we will be able to establish if you are.

If you aren’t entitled to legal aid, we can advise you on what your options are.

Special Guardianship & Adoption

When it isn’t possible for a child to live with their parents, the Court will be looking at what the most stable and permanent place for a child to live is. Special Guardianship Orders and Adoption are considered to be the most stable and permanent options.

The main difference between Special Guardianship Orders and Adoption is that Adoption changes the legal status of the child, cutting all legal ties with the birth family where Special Guardianship orders don’t.

Special Guardianship orders allows the people with parental responsibility for a child to continue to have parental responsibility but the Special Guardians have a larger percentage and have the last say in decisions about the child.

Each of these applications requires the involvement of the local authority and detailed assessments of the applicants. These Orders can only be made by applications to Court and our team can advise you and guide you through the process.

Residential Conveyancing & Leasing Information

Residential Conveyancing Quote
Residential conveyancing lawyers that you can trust Buying and selling a home is likely to be the most important financial purchase you will ever make. Our lawyers at Hopkins Law Solicitors offer an expert yet friendly service, with regular updates. We will handle your purchase or sale with the utmost care, ensuring you understand the process every step of the way. We will take the time to decipher the legal jargon offering you the tailor-made, informative process you deserve. And if that wasn’t enough reassurance, we are also members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme – the mark of excellence for the home buying process. For full details of what this accreditation means for you, please click here. All aspects of residential conveyancing are covered Why use us? – Moving home is undoubtedly a stressful time for everyone. Our clients tell us that they prefer dealing with one person from start to finish rather than a team of people. So when you instruct us you will be told who will be acting for you and it is that person you will be speaking with throughout the transaction. This means that they will be fully conversant with the transaction and will be able to update you as and when needed. We will ensure that all paperwork is taken care of for you, so you can concentrate on making preparations and enjoying your new home. We offer a prompt and efficient service from our specialist lawyers, so whatever your residential conveyancing needs, you are in safe hands. See our Testimonials for our some of our clients comments. The law surrounding the process of buying and selling property is complicated. It is vital that the buyer is aware of all the issues with the property before the purchase is complete, as the seller has no duty to disclose information regarding the property. It is the role of a conveyancer to investigate the title and conduct searches on the property you are buying. Once the purchase is completed, the buyer has little legal recourse against the seller for any problems they may encounter and this is where it pays to have experts dealing with these matters for you. Need a quote? Contact our team to get a free, no-obligation quote. Speak to a member of our residential conveyancing team to see how our expert legal advice can help you. Please call on:
Cardiff – 029 2039 5888 or e-mail Liane at
Cowbridge – 01446 77 41 51 or e-mail Kelly at
Chepstow -01291 639 510 or e-mail Chepstow Property at

Legal help and a quick service for your remortgage
If you already have a mortgage then it is always worth looking at the remortgages available, to see if money can be saved with a better rate. Many homeowners use remortgaging as a way of cashing in on the equity growth on their properties, by increasing the amount they borrow.

Before making the decision to remortgage, you should check your existing mortgage’s terms and conditions. Some mortgages, particularly those with discounted, capped or fixed rates of interest carry redemption penalties which can add up to thousands of pounds, while most will have some form of administration fee to pay if you switch to another lender. Make sure you do your sums to ensure the savings of remortgaging outweigh the costs of changing lender.

Expert, cost effective remortgage conveyancing services
Hopkins Law remortgage conveyancing team provide highly efficient, fast and competitively priced remortgage advice and service. Our team of specialist lawyers are experienced, friendly and provide the highest levels of service.

The legal process of remortgaging is relatively straightforward, though speed and accuracy are key to making the process run smooth. Legal checks such as bankruptcy searches, land registration and title checks, all have to be completed correctly and on time to meet the proposed lender’s requirements. With years of experience providing legal expertise to the residential property market, you can rest assured you are in the safest of hands with Hopkins Law.

For a cost effective and prompt remortgage service, please contact a member of our specialist team on:

Cardiff – 029 2039 5888
Cowbridge – 01446 77 41 51