Divorce & Separation

Divorce is one of the most stressful events in life. Let us guide you through with our experience, knowledge and skill.

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The new divorce process enables an application for divorce to be issued simply on the basis that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  It is not necessary to rely on fault or separation and the court does not require evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

An applicant in divorce proceedings cannot apply for the first stage in the process, the conditional order, until a minimum of 20 weeks have passed since the application for divorce was issued.

A divorce application can be filed by either or both parties to the marriage, ie a joint application can be made. If a joint application is made, you will be equally responsible for the application. You can agree between yourselves how to pay the court fee for the application.  The Court fee is currently £593.

To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least a year. It doesn’t matter where in the world you were married, but you can only apply for a divorce in England and Wales if either you or your spouse meet certain residence conditions or are domiciled here.

The divorce process is generally administrative and online. This means that usually neither of you will need to go to court to obtain a divorce as it generally takes place on paper. The process is simple as long as your spouse does not decide to dispute the proceedings. It is no longer possible to defend a divorce by saying that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down. It is possible to dispute the proceedings but the grounds are limited to issues about the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case or about the validity or subsistence of the marriage. When this happens, a different procedure applies. Disputed proceedings are rare. If you and your spouse are not in agreement regarding arrangements for children and finances these will be dealt with separately (but at the same time) from the divorce process.


While the court will retain a discretion to make a costs order against either party, the circumstances in which an order for costs will be appropriate are very limited. Parties should try to agree at the outset who is to be responsible for the costs of the divorce, including the court fee.

Children and finances

For the purposes of any financial or children arrangements that need to be made, it does not matter who starts the divorce proceedings. You can ask the court to make orders about money and/or children if necessary during the divorce, but these legal processes are completely separate from the divorce itself. You should note that if you are considering getting remarried you should speak to your family lawyer before doing so as that may affect your ability to make an application for financial provision.

How long will the divorce take?

This can vary depending on the current timescales for the court dealing with your divorce, and whether each step in the divorce is taken promptly and financial arrangements do not hold things up. There is a minimum overall timeframe from the divorce application to final order of 26 weeks.

Implications in relation to your Will

It is important to note that divorce may mean that certain provisions in your Will do not work as you might have intended them to. You will need to make a new Will after final order (or in contemplation of divorce) to ensure your wishes are carried out in the event of your death.

Family solicitors team


The Court charges a fee for a divorce. It is currently £550. If you are eligible you may be able to claim a fee exemption for the court fee

We at Keelys then offer fixed fee divorces. If we are representing you as Petitioner (the person asking for the divorce) we charge £750 plus VAT plus any Court fees payable.

If we are acting for you as Respondent, the fees is £350 plus VAT.

These fees do not include attendance at Court or representation in defended divorces.

Many online services now exist offering fixed fees for divorces. We at Keelys are here to sit with you and spend time on your case in person. We are qualified solicitors with a combined experience of over 20 years. Our services are assured and safe.

Currently (although no fault divorce is on the horizon) the only ground for a Divorce is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. The prove this the Court sets out 5 facts and you must choose one of them. They include:

  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Adultery
  • 2 years separation with consent
  • 2 years desertion
  • 5 years desertion

We can discuss with you which fact is most appropriate for you. We have successfully petitioned on behalf of clients on each of these facts.

If a Court is asked to issue a Divorce by one of the parties to the marriage and that person can prove the fact petitioned on, then the Court will issue a divorce.

We as Solicitors for the Respondent can ensure that the process does not damage the Respondent in any other proceedings and potentially in respect of costs, so it is always worthwhile seeking legal advice if you are Respondent and are struggling with the idea of a divorce.

A meeting with one of our Solicitors will be all that is needed to start the process. Thereafter you will be guided step by step through each stage with the full knowledge and reassurance that we will know how to conduct your divorce.

Only a final Decree of Divorce will end the marriage. A Legal Separation may be suitable if you and your spouse are opposed to a divorce for whatever reason.

A Consent Order dealing with your finances in finality can only be made upon Decree Nisi of divorce and only become effective at Decree Absolute. If you need finality to the financial claims a divorce is necessary.

The Court’s operate a ‘no order presumption’. If you and your spouse can agree the arrangements for the children between yourselves or with our help, then a Court will not make an order.

We are highly experienced in resolving the issues around children and who they live with and spend time with.

If agreement cannot be reached we can assist you in an application to the Court to obtain an order that meets the welfare of the children. We can provide lots more information about this during the process if necessary.

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