Separation and Divorce Solicitors
If you’re thinking about a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, the correct legal advice can be invaluable. Our warm, friendly solicitors are here to provide all the support and guidance you need to get through this experience.
At Parsonage & Co Solicitors, we provide bespoke family law advice to individuals and families across London and the UK, in particular Teddington, Richmond upon Thames and the wider surrounding area.
We understand the difficulties you are likely facing in your life at the moment. This is an emotionally charged time; with feelings of stress, anger and grief, to relief and hope, it truly can be exhausting. If you have children, you may also feel the added pressure of making sure that your separation doesn’t turn their life upside down.
Our goal is to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible for you and to secure a positive outcome as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. We can handle all legal aspects of your divorce or civil partnership dissolution on your behalf, including:
- Preparing the divorce petition and filing the papers
- Assisting with arrangements for children, such as:
- Helping you to agree where they will live and how much time they will spend with each parent
- Agreeing child support payments
- Applying for a wide range of child-related court orders (if voluntary agreement is not possible)
- Advising on financial matters, such as:
- Negotiating a fair financial settlement
- Agreeing spousal maintenance payments (if necessary)
- Applying for a wide range of financial court orders (if voluntary agreement is not possible)
- Providing professional and tough representation in defended divorce proceedings
Our family team includes members of Resolution who are committed to helping families find constructive resolutions out of court wherever possible, saving them time, costs and stress.
Contact our family solicitors in Teddington to get all the practical advice and emotional support you need for your divorce or civil partnership dissolution.
How our divorce solicitors can help your family
Preparing and filing the divorce petition or civil partnership dissolution application is the first step to officially separating from your partner. In most cases, this is a form-filling process. However, it is important not to make any mistakes otherwise your divorce or dissolution could be delayed.
We can help you prepare and file the petition, ensuring all documentation is completed to the highest degree of accuracy so there is no unnecessary risk of delay.
Alternatively, if you have received a divorce petition or dissolution application from your partner, we can provide advice on what to do next.
We can assist with defended divorce petitions if your partner does not agree to the separation and/or your reasons for wanting to get divorced. Do not hesitate to let us know if you are concerned about how your partner will react to the petition – we do not judge individuals’ circumstances, we are here to provide practical, tailored advice and help you through this difficult time.
Divorce financial settlements
Sorting out finances can be a tense and emotive matter and is often a source of conflict in divorce. Our solicitors can help you work through the issues, no matter how complex, giving you the best possible chance of reaching an amicable agreement. We can assist with all financial matters with your former partner, including:
- Dividing assets, such as:
- The family home
- Second properties, such as buy-to-lets
- Savings and investments
- Family businesses
- Agreeing how to manage debts, such as the mortgage, rent, bills and loans
- Agreeing a spousal maintenance agreement if necessary
Arrangements for children
Divorce and separation can be particularly hard on children who often do not understand why their parents no longer live together or why certain parts of their life have changed, such as where they live or go to school.
We understand that the happiness of your children is likely to be one of your highest priorities when seeking advice about divorce. Our goal is to help you move forward and work out a parenting plan with your former partner that puts your children’s best interests first. We can help with:
- Decisions about where children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent
- Key decisions about the children’s upbringing, such as where they should go to school and whether they can go abroad to live or on holiday
- Agreeing child maintenance or applying to the Child Maintenance Service
- Resolving disputes about children and making applications to the Family Court wherever necessary
For more information, please visit our Children’s Law page.
Wills and conveyancing advice
As well as our specialist divorce and separation expertise, we can help with other associated matters, including:
- Making a Will – it is important to review your Will because if married, your former partner will be able to inherit from you until the moment a divorce becomes final. After the divorce is final, they will be automatically removed from your Will unless you change it stating otherwise. We can review your Will, ensuring that your wishes are accurate and up to date to avoid your loved ones facing issues and heartache should the worst happen
- Conveyancing – if you agree to sell your property as part of the divorce, we can provide expert advice. We have achieved the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation for our high quality customer service
Our approach to divorce and civil partnership dissolution
With our assistance, the majority of our clients are able to reach a voluntary out-of-court divorce settlement with their former partner. Our team includes Resolution members, Sylvia Parsonage, Sharon Wheatley and Fidelma McCarthy who have specialist expertise helping families resolve issues without going to court (which can be an expensive and stressful process).
As negotiation experts with decades of experience, we are skilled at helping individuals approach legal problems in creative, innovative ways and exploring solutions you might never have thought of.
Our clients often comment on how incredibly ‘normal’ our divorce lawyers are. As family-focused individuals and aim to make people feel as comfortable as possible so we can discuss matters constructively and cooperatively – the perfect environment for reaching a settlement.
If you are able to reach an agreement out-of-court, we will put it in writing and can help you apply to turn it into a legally binding Consent Order. That way, if your former partner ever stops following the agreement, you can apply to court to enforce it.
Family Court applications
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to come to a voluntary arrangement without going to court. There may be many reasons why – perhaps you’ve tried to negotiate and just cannot find a middle ground, or maybe there are domestic abuse issues that make informal negotiations impossible.
Our family solicitors are there when you need us to be. We can assist with negotiations and aim to settle matters promptly and costs effectively. However, if matters do become contested, we can provide strong representation for you at court hearings and will take all possible steps to achieve a positive outcome for you as swiftly as possible.
How does the divorce process work?
We will handle the entire divorce process on your behalf, but we have put together a simplified overview below so you can get an idea of the different stages:
Applying for a divorce
- Either party can make an application (petition) – this person is called the petitioner
- The other party is called the respondent
- In adultery petitions, other parties are known as co-respondents
There is one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. In your petition, you must show that the relationship has irretrievably broken down by relying on one or more of the five facts or reasons for divorce:
- Adultery by the respondent
- Unreasonable behaviour on the part of the respondent
- Separation for at least 2 years (where both parties consent)
- Separation for at least 5 years (no consent needed)
- Desertion by the respondent for at least 2 years
Service on the respondent
The following documents should be served on the respondent (the court will usually serve these documents for you):
- The petition
- Notice of proceedings
- Acknowledgement of service
- Acknowledgement by the respondent which indicates:
- Whether they intend to defend
- Whether they agree to pay costs
If the respondent disagrees, you will usually have to go to court so a judge can make a decision about whether to allow the divorce.
If the respondent agrees, the court will usually allow the divorce and make a Decree Nisi (a conditional divorce order).
After 6 weeks and a day of the date of the Decree Nisi, the petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute. The respondent can apply up to 3 months after the 6 weeks has expired. The divorce becomes final once the Decree Absolute has been made.
The process for civil partnership dissolution is similar except you cannot rely on the fact of adultery and the names of some documents are different (for example, the Decree Nisi is called a Conditional Order).
Do you need to have a reason to get a divorce?
At the moment, you must rely on at least one of the five facts to get a divorce. However, the law was recently changed and from autumn 2021, people wanting a divorce will no longer need to do this. This process is called ‘no-fault divorce’.
If you want to get a divorce now, there is probably no point in waiting for no-fault divorce to come in because most divorces are not contested. However, if you are worried that your partner will object and try to stop the divorce, we can provide further advice.
Get in touch with our divorce solicitors in Teddington
Contact our divorce solicitors in Teddington to get all the practical advice and emotional support you need for your divorce or civil partnership dissolution.
Useful resources for divorce and separation
- Resolution – a community of family lawyers dedicated to non-confrontational approaches to family law issues
- HM Courts & Tribunals Service – find your local Family Court
- The Child Maintenance Service
- Glossary of family law terms – we’ve put together this list of common terms used in family law matters and their meanings