Thinking about divorce or separation?
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The Christmas holiday period can create a perfect storm of fractured relationships, money worries and time to think.
It is no surprise that January sees a surge in enquiries from couples looking to separate or divorce. As the implications of this situation take hold it can help to talk to an experienced family lawyer to help you make sense of things. Here Clare Pilsworth answers some frequently asked questions.
Q. How can I get a divorce?
A. The only legal basis for divorce is the ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’, which can be established in one of five different ways: unreasonable behaviour (the most frequently cited); adultery; two years’ separation by consent; five years’ separation or two years’ desertion.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. The court charges a fee of £550 to file for a divorce and legal fees will be in addition to that. Typically, a solicitor’s fee is based on the complexity of your situation and your solicitor should be clear about the cost when you first make contact.
Q. How long does it take?
A. The time depends upon your circumstances. Not being able to reach agreement about arrangements for finances and children will add to the time but where both partners agree you can expect the process to take 6 to 8 months.
Q. What will happen to my children?
A. Ideally you will be able to reach an amicable agreement. However, if you feel your concerns are being ignored you may need to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. The court will always consider the child or children’s best interests when making the Order.
Q. How will our assets be split?
Some couples decide amicably how to split money, property and investments. If a Prenuptial Agreement is in place assets can be split accordingly. However, if you cannot agree you might need the help of a mediator, a divorce solicitor or, as a last resort, you can ask a court to decide.
Q. How do I start the process?
A. Start with an informal telephone chat with a solicitor specialising in family law. Many law firms offer an initial telephone discussion and at Tees we offer a free 30-minute consultation by phone or a 90-minute face-to-face consultation for £150 + VAT for more detailed advice. Talking to someone who understands the many different ways a relationship breaks down is the best way to clarify your thoughts and help you with your next step.
Clare Pilsworth, a partner at Tees specialising in all aspects of family and divorce law, will be heading up the family law team at Tees’ Cambridge office.
Clare has a particular interest in helping clients with complex financial situations as well as in looking after the best interests of a client’s children.
Her reputation for achieving the best for her clients which she does with kindness and compassion, where possible through the use of the collaborative approach or mediation, will make a good fit with the ethos of the Cambridge family team where the client is at the heart of everything they do.