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The decision to divorce is one of the most difficult decisions you will make. As well as dealing with the emotional side of this major life upheaval, there are also all sorts of legal and practical details you will need to work out. The right legal advice can make this all much easier for you, while making sure you can move forward with your life the right way.
Here at Martin Tolhurst Solicitors we recognise that getting divorced can be really stressful and upsetting. Our solicitors will provide you with clear advice in an approachable manner, guiding you through every stage of getting divorced as smoothly as possible.
We can assist with everything from initiating and responding to divorce proceedings, to making arrangements for children and financial settlements. With strong expertise in alternatives to court proceedings, we can help you get a positive outcome for your divorce while keeping conflict with your spouse to a minimum.
Free initial advice & fixed fee consultation
We offer 15 minutes of free initial advice, then a 45 minute, no obligation consultation for just £99.
This gives you the chance to explain your situation and we can talk you through the next steps you need to take and any specific issues you need to consider, including the likely costs involved. You can then make an informed decision about how to move forward with your divorce.
Speak to our divorce solicitors in Kent now
For further information call our New Enquiries team on 0800 0271452 to find out how we can help you.
How we can help you with your divorce
Initiating divorce proceedings
If you wish to start divorce proceedings, we can advise you on the various steps involved, including:
- Preparing your divorce petition
- Choosing the reasons for your divorce to cite in the petition
- Submitting the petition
- Responding to any objections from your spouse
- Attending divorce court (in the unlikely event your spouse contests the divorce)
- Applying for the decree absolute to finalise your divorce
With our clear, empathetic guidance, we can ensure no detail is overlooked and every stage is completed as quickly as possible, allowing your divorce to move ahead faster.
Responding to divorce proceedings
If your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings, we can guide you through the correct process for responding, including:
- Completing & submitting your response to the relevant court
- Advice on contesting the reasons cited in the divorce petition for the breakdown of your marriage
- Representing you in court if you choose to dispute the divorce
Our divorce solicitors can make sure your interests are protected at all time, while avoiding any unnecessary conflict and helping to keep things amicable between you and your spouse wherever possible.
Making arrangements for children
Sorting out what happens to your children is often the hardest part of divorce, with the need to balance your children’s best interests with your rights as a parent. Our team can assist with matters including:
- Pattern of care
- Child Arrangements Orders
- Specific Issue Orders
- Prohibited Steps Orders
- Parental Responsibility
By taking a non-confrontational approach wherever possible, we can help you make decisions about your children’s future with your former partner without court proceedings in most cases.
This is not only less stressful for you, but crucially can make things much easier on your children, while allowing you to maintain a more positive relationship with their other parent.
Find out more about our child law advice services.
Arranging a financial settlement
Working out the financial side of your divorce is crucial to allow you and your spouse to start living truly independent lives, while making sure your long-term needs will be met. Our divorce lawyers can assist with matters including:
- Negotiated financial settlements
- Court-ordered settlements
- Pension-sharing orders
- Varying existing financial arrangements
- Advice on the application of pre-nuptial & post-nuptial agreements
Our goal is to get you a settlement that matches your requirements as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, with minimum stress.
Find out more about our divorce finances services.
Separation for unmarried couples
Unmarried couples have no automatic legal right to each other’s property, which can mean one partner ends up in financial difficulties if their relationship breaks down. There can also be issues over arrangements for any children you have together and other practical issues.
Our team can help with all of the issues faced by unmarried couples during separation, including:
- Understanding your legal rights
- Securing financial support
- Arrangements for children
- Advice on using cohabitation agreements
Find out more about our services for separating unmarried couples.
Removing conflict from your divorce
Divorce doesn’t have to turn into a fight with your former spouse – in fact, most divorces can be handled in a positive, collaborative way if you take the right approach and have the proper legal support and guidance.
Our divorce solicitors will always try to find a positive way through divorce for you, allowing you to avoid the need for potentially bitter court proceedings wherever possible. We are experts in non-confrontational dispute resolution, so can almost always achieve a fair outcome for you outside of a court, saving you time, money and emotional fallout.
We can advise you on using mediation for your divorce, which is now the most common options for most couples, as well as having our own trained collaborative lawyer on the team. This means we can generally help you agree a voluntary solution for even the most complicated and contentious divorces.
However, where court proceedings are required, we can provide expert representation to make sure your case is handled effectively and that you have the best chance of securing the result you need.
Common questions about divorce and separation
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is only one grounds for divorce currently under English law, which is that your relationship has permanently broken down.
In order to obtain a divorce, you must have been married for at least 12 months and you must be able to demonstrate that one of the following five facts has been established:
- Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living together.
- Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living together.
- Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of 2 years or more.
- You and your spouse have been living separately for 2 years or more and your spouse agrees to the divorce.
- You and your spouse have been living separately for 5 years or more, whether or not your spouse consents to the divorce
We can advise on which of the facts is most applicable to you, and the procedure which needs to be followed. Unless your spouse objects to the divorce, it will be a paper exercise and can be dealt with separately from any issues relating to children and finances following on from the breakdown of your marriage.
Can I get a ‘no fault’ divorce?
Many people believe they should be able to get divorced simply because they and their spouse agree they no longer want to be married to each other. Unfortunately, under current English law, this concept (referred to as ‘no fault divorce’) is not currently recognised.
While the government has indicated that it intends to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce at some point in the future, as things stand you will need to provide evidence as to why your marriage has failed in order to be allowed to divorce.
For guidance on the acceptable reasons for divorce, please refer to the question above.
How long does it take to get divorced?
Usually the divorce process takes between 4-7 months. Often no court attendance is necessary during the whole process. With our help, your divorce should be a smooth and straight-forward procedure.
Can I get divorced in the UK if I married abroad or if I and/or my spouse now live abroad?
Where there are international elements to the divorce, we will provide you with detailed advice, often in conjunction with family law firms overseas, so that you can make an informed decision as to which country you would like matters to proceed within.
In these circumstances it may be important to act quickly to start proceedings in the country of your choice.
Speak to our divorce solicitors in Kent today
We will provide you with expert legal advice for all aspects of your divorce and support you at every stage to get the simplest and most cost-effective solution for you and your family.
You can contact your local Martin Tolhurst office in Gravesend, Longfield, Ashford, Medway or Sittingbourne, or for further information call our New Enquiries team on 0800 0271452 to find out how we can help you.