Are you considering separation or divorce in the New Year?

New Year is always a time of new beginnings, resolutions and hopes for the future. Sadly, it is also the time that many decide to end a relationship and start to consider separation and divorce.

For those in this situation, we would always advise seeking early legal advice to learn what options are available to you. This will allow you to make informed decisions on how and whether you choose to move forward in ending your relationship.

Seeking initial advice

While researching divorce issues on the internet can be enlightening, nothing beats getting specialist advice from a family lawyer. We offer a one-hour no obligation consultation for £100 (incl. VAT) with one of our team of family lawyers. At this meeting we can discuss your personal circumstances and explain what options might work best for you and your family.

Mediation & dispute resolution processes

Going through a divorce or separation does not need to be contentious or involve costly court proceedings. We have three trained family mediators who can help you reach agreements on finances, property, and childcare arrangements. Family mediators act as a neutral third-party during discussions and can help to make a split as amicable as possible, avoiding the expense, time, and stress of sorting these issues out in the courtroom.

We also have three collaborative lawyers and can hold arbitration hearings at our offices in Haywards Heath. All these alternative dispute resolution processes can help you both to reach agreements without the need for expensive and drawn-out court proceedings.

Initiating a divorce

With the introduction of No-Fault divorce getting a divorce has become much simpler. There is now no need to prove why the marriage has failed and either one party or both parties can apply for a divorce by confirming that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. As long as you have been married for at least 12 months, either one of you or both of you together, can apply for a divorce.

More information can be found here

The divorce process

Once a divorce application has been made, the court will send the other party both the application and an acknowledgement of service. They must respond within 14 days and then you must wait 20 weeks before applying for a conditional order to end the marriage. This gives couples a cooling off period and a chance to reconsider.

After the 20-week period is over, you can apply for a conditional order, while the final order can be applied for six weeks and one day from the date of the conditional order.

The final order legally ends the marriage, and you are now both free to remarry should you choose.

Do note that a final order does not include financial and childcare arrangements

It’s important to appreciate that while a final order legally ends a marriage, it has no bearing on your financial arrangements or childcare arrangements. In the case of finances, without a financial consent order, you are still legally tied to each other financially.

Both financial settlements and childcare arrangements can be highly contentious and again, we would recommend taking the advice of a family lawyer to help get these issues resolved and agreed by the court. This will ensure that both parties receive a fair and just outcome, as well as protect you both from future financial claims against each other.


Divorce is one of life’s most stressful and challenging events and it’s important to protect your interests and feel that you have someone with legal expertise supporting you. As specialist family lawyers we have a wealth of experience and breadth of knowledge, to help find the right solutions specifically for you and your family’s individual circumstances.

If you are considering divorce or separation, you can book an initial consultation with one of our specialist family lawyers by calling us on 01444 472700, emailing or completing the form below. The meeting will last up to one hour, will cost £100 (incl. VAT) and carries no obligation to use us in the future should you decide to go ahead with divorce or separation.

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