The ABC’s of divorce with Healys’ solicitors in London and Brighton

7th March 2015 by


Healys’ divorce solicitors in London and Brighton pride ourselves on being friendly, approachable and available to listen sensitively to your circumstances so that we can advise you, without obligation, on your best course of action after relationship breakdown.

There are a number of questions which we are frequently asked and we have detailed below general answers which may help you understand the procedures involved in obtaining a divorce.

However, for more detailed information please feel free to call our family law teams in either our London or Brighton offices, and we will be happy to offer expert legal advice and representation on the myriad of issues arising out of relationship breakdown.

What grounds do I need to be able to apply for a divorce

The only ground for divorce under English and Welsh family law is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, the petitioner will have to apply to the court using one of the five prescribed reasons (or facts) for the breakdown and these are; unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, and separation – two years (if the respondent agrees to the divorce) or five years (if the respondent does not agree).

How long does it take to get divorced?

The full process which culminates in a Decree Absolute usually takes around four to six months, providing the petition is straightforward and not contested. If there is a financial claim made to the court, this may mean that the final decree could be delayed, but, in most instances, the decree absolute can be granted, so that parties to the divorce are free to remarry, before a court rules on the application for financial relief.

What are the costs?

The court will make a charge to process a divorce, however those on a low income may be able to get a discount or be eligible for full remission. If you require the services of a solicitor, and it is always recommended that petitioners and respondents receive advice from lawyers with a proven track record in the field of family law, he or she will charge on an hourly basis. Once a solicitor has looked into the particular circumstances of a case, they should be able to provide the prospective client with an estimation of costs at a first meeting and, once instructed, should provide regular information about ongoing costs.

I have children – what will happen to them if I get a divorce?

Family courts encourage couples to decide the arrangements for children themselves, so, if both parties agree on the details and the court deems it to be a fair agreement which ensures the welfare of the children, they will be unlikely to become involved. If parties to a divorce do not agree on children arrangements, they should seek the advice of a divorce solicitor to assist them in making an application to the court in respect of a residence and contact order.

How long does a financial settlement on divorce take?

If spouses can agree the details of financial settlement and provision for children, and the court deems it to be fair, the financial side of a divorce can be settled fairly routinely alongside the divorce decree and may take as little as four to six months as long as both parties are willing to provide full disclosure of assets, income and liabilities.

If an application for financial relief is made to the court, the parties to the divorce and their solicitors must follow a set timetable issued by the court. If the timetable is adhered to and there are no further disputes, settlement could be reached in approximately ten months.

My spouse and I have separated, can we make a financial settlement agreement?

Separated spouses do not need to have applied for a divorce to be able to agree a financial settlement. Ex-spouses, with the help of their family law solicitors, can draft a Formal Separation Agreement which is legally binding. However, in the event of a financial claim on divorce, a court is not bound by the terms of such an agreement, although, where both parties to the agreement sought independent legal advice and the terms are deemed to be fair, the divorce court may well uphold any standing agreement.

For those parties who wish to seek a pension sharing order, they will not be able to proceed while separated and will need to seek a divorce decree so that courts can then make such an order.

Healys divorce solicitors in London and Brighton for expert advice and representation

If you wish to speak to a divorce solicitor in London please call 020 7822 4000 and we will give you an initial free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your separation or divorce application.

Alternatively, to speak to a member of the family law team in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to

We look forward to offering you the benefit of our many years’ experience.