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Divorce and Separation

We will take you through the legal separation process 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.

When it comes to divorce and separation, you can trust that our divorce solicitors will provide sound divorce legal advice to guide you through this difficult time. Our experienced divorce solicitors take you through the legal aspects of divorce and separation with sensitivity and expertise, making it as straightforward and swift as possible. Throughout the legal separation process or divorce proceedings, we will resolve any financial and property issues that arise and reach a settlement that is right for you.

How Can We Help with Divorce Legal Advice?

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

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

What Should You Do Next?

In both divorce and separation cases, we advise our clients to seek help from divorce solicitors sooner rather than later if you feel that you need to discuss divorce or separation from your spouse. When it comes to legal divorce advice, our legal separation lawyers offer a free initial consultation so that you can explain your situation and we can advise the best course of action for you.

What Happens at the First Consultation?

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

How Can I Begin the Legal Separation Process?

If a relationship has broken down, but you are not sure if it is permanent, you might want to explore separation. Our legal separation lawyers will offer you practical solutions and advice in reaching an 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.

Further Divorce and Separation Information and Key Terms

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.

Grounds for Divorce

As of 6th April 2022, England and Wales have introduced the ‘no-fault divorce’ bill meaning that the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will serve as the sole ground for divorce. One party can apply for a divorce, or both parties can apply together by submitting a joint statement.

Prior to this change in legislation, there were five official grounds for divorce, and the divorcing parties had to prove one of these to be granted a divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Two Years’ Separation with Consent
  • Desertion
  • Five Years’ Separation

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.

How to Arrange a Free Consultation

You can contact any of our family law and divorce solicitors through the Family Law section of the website by phone or email. Alternatively, you can email us at and a member of our divorce and family law team will be in touch. We have offices across Yorkshire and the North East.

Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need my spouse’s agreement to start divorce proceedings?

As of 6th April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 implemented no-fault divorces, meaning that either spouse can apply for a divorce, with or without their partner’s consent, and their partner cannot challenge the proceedings.

Divorce proceedings can only go forward if the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the proof of which comes in the form of a statement.

How long does a divorce normally take?

Assuming that both parties deal with the divorce documentation promptly, the process usually takes approximately four to five months from the date the divorce petition is issued at court to the Decree Absolute.

What happens during the divorce process? Will I need to go to court?

Initially, our divorce solicitors will prepare the divorce papers and send them on to you to check and sign. When they have been returned to us, we send them to court. The court will send them to your spouse. Your spouse then has eight days to acknowledge receipt by completing an Acknowledgement of Service.

When your spouse has returned the acknowledgement we will make an application, on your behalf, for Decree Nisi.

If the Judge is satisfied that you have grounds for a divorce, they will issue a certificate that will confirm the date on which Decree Nisi will be pronounced. You will not need to attend court, and we will send you a copy of the Decree Nisi when it is received. You can apply for the Decree Absolute which finalises the divorce six weeks and one day after Decree Nisi.

Can I get Legal Aid for my divorce?

New regulations came into force on 1st April 2013 under the Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which limited the scope of legal aid to those cases involving domestic abuse, Local authority child protection matters, child abduction matters, forced marriage and mediation. Unless your case is one where the local authority have taken care and supervision proceedings or involves child abduction, legal aid is not granted automatically.

An applicant will need to satisfy the legal aid agency that they are financially eligible as only those on low income or benefits will be entitled to it.

Legal aid is no longer available for

  • divorce;
  • financial proceedings; or
  • an application for a Child Arrangements Order.

At Newtons, we are here to help you find the most cost-effective way to deal with your divorce and finances.

I have heard a lot about mediation. What is it and will it help me?

Mediation is a process by which parties try to resolve any disputes that may have arisen between them without the need to go to court. Each party is encouraged to discuss and resolve any disputes with the assistance of a trained mediator. The most common issues requiring a mediator are those relating to children and financial arrangements. If an agreement can be reached, we can prepare documentation on your behalf to ensure that the agreement becomes binding. There are other types of mediation known collectively as Alternative Dispute Resolution. Our team of divorce solicitors at Newtons can help you identify the right way for your case to be dealt with.

How will the financial aspects of my divorce be dealt with?

Both parties are under a duty to provide the other with full details of their financial circumstances. When each party has disclosed their financial circumstances, we will advise you on a financial settlement. Find out more here about financial settlements during divorce here.

We negotiate with your spouse, or their solicitors, to reach an agreement which is finalised by creating a Consent Order.

If no agreement is reached, you will need to make an application to court for a Financial Remedy Order. Your case will be timetabled, and you will continue to negotiate a settlement with the court’s guidance. If a settlement is not reached, your case will be listed for a Final Hearing, and after hearing evidence, a judge will make a Final Order.

What will I be entitled to financially?

Family law is discretionary, so the outcome of your case will depend on both parties’ circumstances. When making a Financial Order, the judge has to consider the factors listed under Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. These include things such as the ages of the parties, the length of the marriage, needs, responsibilities, and earning capacity. No two cases are the same, but the aim is to achieve fairness. At Newtons, our family law solicitors will guide you and advise you on the division of capital, maintenance and pension sharing so that, where possible, you can reach an agreement without the need to go to court. Please refer to our financial settlements page for more information on the financial aspects of divorce.

Will the value of my business be taken into account as part of a divorce?

Yes, all assets are taken into account when deciding how capital should be divided between the parties.

How will my business be valued?

The value of your business may be agreed between the parties. More likely, there will be a joint expert’s report prepared by a forensic accountant.

How does a court treat the valuation of a business?

The value of a business is not the same as capital that is readily available such as savings or equity in the home. The valuation of a business acts as a guide for the court as it will be recognised that this asset is not liquid and not available as cash.

Will my business have to be sold?

No, this is extremely unlikely. In most cases, the business will continue to be run by the party who owns it.

For more advice regarding divorce and separation, please contact our team of divorce solicitors today.

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. 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.