Getting a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is daunting, but with the right support, it can just be life’s next big adventure. Our dissolution and divorce solicitors specialise in helping people through these legal processes without high levels of stress or conflict.
At WSP Solicitors, we know that relationship breakdown is an arduous experience to go through. This is a huge period of change, so it’s normal to feel uncertain and unconfident about the process. You’ll likely be concerned about working out financial arrangements and ensuring that, if you have children, their lives aren’t disrupted too much. When a divorce or dissolution is rife with conflict, these procedures can become rather tense.
Fortunately, we are here to make every step easier for you. Our friendly and reliable team can support you with:
We believe that divorce and civil partnership dissolution doesn’t have to result in lengthy, expensive court proceedings, and can support you to avoid this where possible.
We help the vast majority of our clients arrange fair financial settlements and positive co-parenting plans amicably out of court, so you can move on with your life faster and with less stress.
Contact our divorce and civil partnership dissolution solicitors in Gloucestershire
For expert divorce and civil partnership dissolution advice, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today.
If you have a quick question or would like to request a call-back, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.
For our full range of family law services, please click here
How our divorce solicitors can help you
Getting a no fault divorce
No fault divorce refers to the changes to UK divorce legislation which were introduced on April 6th 2022. Under the reformed legislation, couples can obtain a divorce without the requirement to provide a reason for this decision.
Prior to April 6th, divorcing couples needed to demonstrate why and how the marriage had broken down, providing one or more ‘reasons’, including desertion, unreasonable behaviour, or adultery. If the couple could not offer a reason for the divorce, they could alternatively file for a divorce if they had been separated for two years. This option was only available if both parties consented to the divorce. If both parties did not consent, a longer separation period of five years was necessary.
The new divorce law was introduced to offer couples a smoother and more streamlined divorce process while reducing conflict. If you’re looking to get a no-fault divorce, our divorce solicitors can provide expert legal advice, and support you through every step of the process.
Civil partnership dissolution
If your civil partnership has broken down, you can apply for a dissolution to legally bring the partnership to an end. The process for divorce and dissolution work in the same way, meaning that under the new legislation, couples will not need to provide a reason to dissolve their civil partnership.
Our civil partnership dissolution solicitors can provide the legal guidance you need, during this difficult time. For more information about obtaining a civil partnership dissolution, contact our family law solicitors.
Divorce and dissolution financial settlements
A vital aspect of getting a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is sorting out your finances. After years or even decades together, it’s likely that you and your partner’s finances will be tightly interwoven.
Dissolution and divorce law also says that financial arrangements must be fair and put the welfare of your children first. This means that the final financial arrangement may not necessarily reflect the legal ownership of money and property within your relationship and may not be a 50-50 split.
We can help with:
- Negotiating fair financial settlements out of court, covering things like:
- Who should keep the family home (or whether it should be sold now or in the future)
- How savings, investments, stocks and shares should be split
- How pensions should be shared and split
- Agreeing spousal maintenance, such as one-off lump sum payments and ongoing regular payments
- Agreeing child maintenance and financial provision for children
- Using methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and collaborative law to work out your financial arrangements
- Applying to court for a range of financial orders (if an out-of-court agreement is not possible)
See our Divorce & Dissolution Financial Arrangements page for more information.
Arrangements for children upon divorce or dissolution
Relationship breakdown can be very hard on children. It can be difficult to understand why their parents no longer want to live together; it’s common to feel caught in the middle and even like the separation is their fault.
As a parent, you will want to make the transition as easy as possible for your children. As your lawyers, we’ll always make sure to put your children first and provide our legal advice with them and your parental interests in mind.
Our divorce and dissolution solicitors can help you make all the agreements you need to successfully co-parent with your ex-partner, such as agreeing where the children will live and how they will be financially provided for.
In most cases, we are able to help families reach these co-parenting arrangements amicably. But we are also able to help you go to court for a range of children-related courts orders if necessary, including:
- Child Arrangements Orders
- Specific Issue Orders
- Prohibited Steps Orders
Visit our Child Law Solicitors page for more information.
If you and your partner do not wish to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, you can consider other options, including an informal separation where we record any agreement you reach regarding finances, arrangements for the children and/or future divorce proceedings in a document called a Deed of Separation.
Judicial separation proceedings are another option and, although such proceedings are not common, they can be used in the first year of marriage/civil partnership. For example, judicial separation proceedings are sometimes preferred by people whose religious beliefs mean divorce or dissolution is undesirable.
Frequently asked questions about no-fault divorce and the associated legal processes
What is the no fault divorce process?
The process to obtain a no-fault divorce includes the following steps:
- Completing a divorce application and sending this to the court, (you may complete a joint application, or and an individual application if your partner does not agree to the divorce).
- Once the court have started to process your divorce, couples must wait for a period of twenty days, also referred to as the reflection period.
- After twenty days have passed, the divorcing couple can apply for a conditional order (formally known as the Decree Nisi).
- Divorcing couples will now experience another mandatory waiting period of six weeks.
- At this time, the couple will need legal support to reach a financial settlement.
- A divorce solicitor can assist the couple to apply for a final order, (formally known as the Decree Absolute).
What has changed under no fault divorce law?
The no fault divorce law has included several key updates to the UK divorce legislation, including:
- The divorcing couple can apply for a divorce together (previously only one party could apply).
- Neither party needs to offer a reason or blame one another for the breakdown of the marriage.
- If one party wants to get divorced, the other party does not have an option to object.
- The application process requires a reflection period of twenty weeks, and a further 6- week wait to obtain a final order.
- Changes to the legal terminology include: the conditional order has replaced the Decree Nisi, and the final order has replaced the Decree Absolute.
Can our divorce and dissolution solicitors negotiate for you?
Negotiation is a huge part of sorting out divorce and dissolution matters, but it can be very worrying as you want to make sure the final outcome is fair to you. Our Family Law team are skilled negotiators and can help you throughout the process.
We can negotiate for you by letter, email, on the telephone or at round table meetings. We will advise you through each step and help you decide what to do. We will then contact the other person (or their solicitor) to try and agree on the best way to resolve matters for you.
What is mediation?
Mediation can be really useful at helping you come to agreements about things like financial arrangements and co-parenting plans. It is the process of working out divorce or dissolution matters with the help of a mediator.
The mediator is a neutral third party who helps you negotiate. They don’t take sides or tell you what to do. They guide your discussion and try to encourage you to come to a solution that works for everyone.
When going through mediation, it is helpful to have a family solicitor who can provide advice on the process and your mediation agreement. We’ll make sure the final agreement is fair and right for you. We can also help you make the agreement legally binding by applying to court for a Consent Order.
What is collaborative law?
Collaborative law is a process designed to help families find positive solutions to their legal problems. It involves attending a series of round-table meetings with your former partner to negotiate divorce and civil partnership dissolution matters. You both have a specially trained collaborative lawyer with you to help you negotiate and defuse any conflict.
You can also invite other professionals to your collaborative law sessions, such as financial advisors. For this reason, collaborative law is popular with couples who have more complex finances.
We have two specially trained collaborative solicitors who would be happy to talk to you about this in more detail.
What is family arbitration?
If more informal methods of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution are unsuccessful, family arbitration is a way to resolving issues without going to court.
Arbitration is a bit like the court process, but it is private and less daunting. It also tends to be faster than going to court. It involves attending a hearing or series of hearings before an arbitrator (normally an independent barrister or solicitor). You can present your case with the help of us, your family lawyers. Your ex-partner will also be able to present their case. The arbitrator will then make a binding decision about what to do.
Will going to court help with divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership?
Sometimes, an out-of-court resolution is just not possible. If you are unable to come to an agreement about divorce or dissolution matters with your ex-partner, or an out-of-court agreement is unsuitable for some other reason, court may be the best option. If you do need to attend court to negotiate your financial arrangements, our family law solicitors can represent you, helping you to achieve the legal outcomes that you desire.
You can still make an agreement between yourselves once court proceedings have started. The family court process is designed to give couples as many opportunities as possible to make a voluntary agreement.
Court may also be better for you if there has been any domestic abuse in your relationship. Find out more about our domestic violence advice service.
Contact our divorce and dissolution solicitors in Gloucestershire
Contact our local offices in Gloucester or Stroud for expert advice on divorce and civil partnership dissolution today. If you have a quick question or would like to request a call-back, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.