We here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors are expert Divorce Lawyers based in Guildford, Surrey and can help you throughout your divorce proceedings.
With our unique legal and psychological approach we will guide you through the process and help you to find a mutually acceptable way forward, with your spouse, that alleviates a lot of stress and resentment that can be experienced at this difficult time.
Many clients make the mistake of leaving instructing solicitors to the last minute, thereby prejudicing their case and the possibility of reaching an agreement.
Delaying seeking legal advice also risks causing unnecessary distress and an increase in acrimony, resulting in unhelpful, negative interactions prior to our instruction.
Clients who instruct us promptly at an early stage in the dispute, feel more empowered and able to manage the process better. Should litigation be necessary, it is essential that the client's unique strategy, based on our joint legal-psychological approach, is pursued from the earliest possible time.
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The Legal Process.
To obtain a divorce you need to follow a set legal process. This page outlines the key stages you need to be aware of.
To get a divorce in England and Wales, you need to show that you have been married for more than a year and that the marriage has broken down for one of the following reasons:
The divorce is started by one person (then called the petitioner) lodging a petition with the court. The petition is a document setting out details of the marriage, names, addresses, dates of birth of any children and the grounds for divorce. The petition is sent to the court with the court fee (unless you qualify for legal aid). The court will stamp the petition and send a copy to your spouse (who will be known as the respondent).
When your spouse receives a copy of the petition, they must fill in a form to say they have received it and that they accept the divorce. This is known as an Acknowledgment of Service. If they agree, your divorce will be known as an undefended divorce. If they say that they do not want a divorce (known as contesting), this will be a defended divorce. If your partner does not return the form, you can pay the court to serve the papers in person (using a court bailiff).
The court will check the divorce papers and if they are happy with them, will issue a decree nisi. A decree nisi means the court agrees that your reasons for the divorce has been proved. A decree nisi does not mean your divorce is final. You must wait six weeks to apply for a decree absolute.
Six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is granted you can apply for the decree to be made absolute (or final), which finally brings the marriage to an end. If you (as the petitioner) do not make an application within three months, your partner (respondent) can then apply for it.
If the other person defends the divorce, there would have to be a hearing at the court or a more convenient court hearing centre but this is extremely rare.
Alongside that process you and your partner will need to work out arrangements for any children and sort out your family finances and housing arrangements.
Whether you use a lawyer or not, you will need to pay court fees to get a divorce or dissolution. This is currently £550 in England and Wales. There may also be other fees involved, such as your partner having to pay to answer the acknowledgement of service (currently £245). See the gov.uk website for up to date costs.
If your partner cooperates the divorce will usually take 4–6 months from start to finish. It can take longer, typically 12-18 months, if you have child disputes and/or complex finances to resolve.
If you are looking for an expert divorce lawyers in Guildford, then give Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors a call today on 01483 826 470
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call.