How to Divorce - Practical Advice from Cotswold Family Law

child on beachGetting divorced is a serious step that affects many aspects of your life – your children, your finances, your home and even the benefits you're potentially entitled to. Apart from the emotional upset, many people worry about the technicalities of how to divorce – so here is a brief overview.

Do You Need a Solicitor ?

Independent legal advice from a qualified family Solicitor is a lifeline when you're going through a divorce.  At Cotswold Family Law, we will not just ensure that the technical aspects of the divorce are taken care of but we will also advise you on your legal position, arrangements for your children and finances.  At a time when emotions can run high, we will always help you reach an agreement with your partner in as non-confrontational a manner as possible. Alternatively, you could opt to try mediation. We are happy to help you find the most suitable approach for you.

Do you Need to Go to Court?

A marriage is a legally binding contract between two people.  If you want to dissolve a marriage, you need the Court to legalise that fact.  However, it is not actually necessary for you to appear in Court, provided you can agree to the terms of your separation.

You would only need to go to Court as a last resort if there is no other way of resolving issues concerning children or finances.

Cotswold Family Law stresses the importance of trying to agree matters.  Any agreement involves compromise, though there may be a point at which there is just too much at stake and compromise is impossible. If we have engaged in correspondence with your partner's Solicitors, or even sat around the table to try and resolve matters and still not been able to agree, then it may be necessary to go to Court for a Judge to decide either what is to happen in respect of the children or with regard to finances.

However, remember that this will be a Court Order, a solution imposed by a third party.  It will not be one that either you or your partner has produced, but it will have to be implemented by you and your partner. This is why we suggest that it is preferable, if possible, to produce your own solutions.  Only if we have exhausted all other possibilities would we advise that you need to go to Court.

How Long does a Divorce Take?

A straightforward divorce usually takes between three and six months to complete. You can stop proceedings at any time until Decree Absolute.  Disputes concerning any children and financial matters will be dealt with separately from the divorce procedure and would usually not affect the progress of the divorce.

How to Start a Divorce

To gain a divorce, you must prove to a Judge that your marriage is over. You may only do this after you have been married for at least one year. 

The Courts in England and Wales recognise five reasons for divorce and your Solicitor will discuss with you which reason best describes your particular circumstances.

One of you must then apply to the Courts for a divorce.  This application is called a Petition and the spouse who files the Petition is called the Petitioner. The other spouse is called the Respondent. More information about the divorce process and the stages of divorce is provided here.

If you have children, you need to come to an agreement about their residence and care, and submit a separate agreement needs to the Court listing the arrangements.


To make an appointment,please contact us.

Next: The Effects of Divorce.


© Family Law, Wills & Probate, Conveyancing, Elderly Client and Commercial Property Solicitors - Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire & Cotswolds | Joanna Craig Website Design