Divorce and Separation

We will take you through the legal aspects of divorce with sensitivity and expertise, making it as straightforward and swift as possible; along the way we will resolve any financial and property issues that arise and reach a settlement that is right for you.

Our team will be on hand to support and advise you and pride themselves on being extremely accessible to their clients.

Why come to Newtons specialist divorce and family solicitors?

Emotions run high when a marriage is in turmoil or breaks down. All of our divorce and family law specialists have many years helping clients who may be feeling upset, angry and confused. Our main focus is to put you at ease, discuss your situation and plan the best outcome for you.

We have offices across Yorkshire and the North East, including; Knaresborough, Harrogate, York, Ripon, Leyburn, Darlington, Richmond, Stokesley, Northallerton and Thirsk.

What should I do next?

It is always better to seek help from a family solicitor sooner rather than later if you feel that you need to discuss divorce or separation from your spouse. Our family law team offer a free initial consultation so that you can explain your situation and we can advise you of the best course of action for you.

What will happen at that first consultation?

During your first meeting with one of our divorce and family solicitors, we will discuss why your relationship has broken down, if you have any children, your initial thoughts about the future and about your income, savings, pensions and assets. We will then discuss with you the best way forward to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Sometimes divorce might not be the route that you want to take and separation may be a preferred route for you.

What if I want to separate from my spouse?

If a relationship has broken down but you are not certain if it is permanent, you might want to explore separation. Our divorce and family law solicitors will offer you practical solutions and advice in reaching agreement with your spouse about your children, your property, income and pensions. If at some stage you decide that divorce is the right option for you, agreements made during separation can form the basis of discussions moving forward.

I want to arrange an initial free consultation. What should I do?

You can contact any of our divorce and family law solicitors through the Family Law’ section of the website by phone or email, alternatively, you can email us here info@newtons.co.uk and a member of our divorce and family law team will be in touch. We have offices across Yorkshire and the North East, including; Knaresborough, Harrogate, York, Ripon, Leyburn, Darlington, Richmond, Stokesley, Northallerton and Thirsk.

Further information and key terms that may be used in relation to divorce and separation

Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions section below.

What is a Decree Nisi?

Once the divorce petition has been acknowledged and agreed by your spouse, a judge will review all the documentation to ensure that there are proper grounds for divorce.  If the judge is satisfied, a Decree Nisi will be granted.

What is a Decree Absolute?

The final stage of a divorce is when the Decree Absolute is granted.

Being granted a Decree Absolute means that you are no longer married and are free to re-marry.  An application for a Decree Absolute can be made six weeks and one day from the date of the Decree Nisi.

The 5 grounds for divorce


Divorce proceedings can be issued if your spouse has committed adultery. However, you cannot ‘suspect’ that adultery has taken place even if your spouse has begun a new relationship. If you intend to cite adultery in divorce proceedings, it is advisable that your spouse openly admits adultery before divorce proceedings are issued.

Unreasonable behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason for divorce.

You can cite unreasonable behaviour in a divorce petition if you feel that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her.

Two years’ separation with consent

If you have lived continuously apart from your spouse for two years or more, you can issue divorce proceedings on the grounds of ‘Two years of separation with consent’. The consent of your spouse is needed to issue divorce proceedings.


You can issue divorce proceedings on the grounds of desertion if your spouse has ‘deserted’ you for two years or more. Desertion as a grounds for divorce is not often used.

Five years’ separation

If you have lived apart from your spouse continuously for five years or more, you can issue divorce proceedings. Under these circumstances you do not need the consent of your spouse.

Dissolving a civil partnership

To dissolve a civil partnership, the relationship needs to have irretrievably broken down. Dissolution proceedings cannot be issued on the grounds of adultery in civil partnerships.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need my spouse’s agreement to start divorce proceedings?
How long does a divorce normally take?
What happens during the divorce process? Will I need to go to court?
Can I get Legal Aid for my divorce?
I have heard a lot about mediation. What is it and will it help me?
How will the financial aspects of my divorce be dealt with?
What will I be entitled to financially?
Will the value of my business be taken into account as part of a divorce?
How will my business be valued?
How does a court treat the valuation of a business?
Will my business have to be sold?

Our family law team is here to help.

Please call us to find out how we can help. We have offices across Yorkshire and the North East, including; Knaresborough, Harrogate, York, Ripon, Darlington, Richmond, Stokesley, Northallerton, Thirsk, Beverley, Durham and Stockton.  We can talk on the phone or arrange a meeting where we can discuss your options and give you a clear idea of timeframes and costs.

Alternatively, please contact us online and we’ll call you back when it’s convenient for you.