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Divorce Solicitors London

Specialist Divorce Solicitors London

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Why use Austin Kemp Solicitors in London for your Divorce?

We are Austin Kemp Solicitors – specialist divorce solicitors with client meeting offices located in London (WC2N 5BW). We focus on complex finance divorce cases. By delivering strategic advice which is high quality, focused and consistently excellent we maintain an outstanding success record.

We are committed to getting you the outcome that you want and know how important it is to be listened to. You will be assigned a specialist lawyer for your case, and they will be available to answer all of your questions and re-assure any concerns.

To learn more about our expert approach to divorce law – click here.

Your Guide to Divorce

Our Divorce Solicitors in London, have prepared this short guide to divorce.

The procedure for obtaining a divorce is relatively straightforward, particularly if the parties agree that the marriage is over. The difficulties often lie in resolving other issues such as where the parties are to live, money matters and issues over the children.

You will probably want to concentrate on these other issues and the process of obtaining a divorce may not be clear. This section sets out to give you an overview of the divorce process and to highlight any important points.

Who can start divorce proceedings?

Anyone who has been married for over one year, provided one or other of the couple is a resident of this country or has lived here for the preceding year. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. It does not matter where the couple were married. You should also be aware that the proceedings can be stopped at any time before the pronouncement of the decree absolute.

How can I start divorce proceedings?

The only basis for a divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This has to be proved in one of five ways, known as the five facts.

What are the five facts?

(a)   Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to stay living together;

(b)   Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living together. (This is commonly referred to as ‘unreasonable behaviour’);

(c)   Your spouse has deserted you for a period of 2 years or more;

(d)   You and your spouse have been living apart continuously for 2 years or more and your spouse consents to a divorce;

(e)   You and your spouse have been living separately for 5 years or more. Your spouse does not have to consent to this divorce.

Fact (a) – ‘adultery’ and fact (b) – ‘unreasonable behaviour’ – are the two facts that are most often relied upon by divorcing couples and so I shall set out some further information about these.

‘Adultery’ is an act of sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. However, for an act of adultery to be relied upon a party to a marriage is not be entitled to rely on adultery committed by the other if, after it became known to him that the other had committed that adultery, the parties have lived with each other for a period exceeding, or periods together exceeding, six months.  It is no longer necessary to name the person with whom the adultery took place or indeed involve them in the court proceedings.

‘Unreasonable behaviour’ is where the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with him/her. The test is subjective and the Court will consider what is unreasonable to the Petitioner. For behaviour to be ‘unreasonable’ in this context it need not consist of extensive violence, drug or alcohol abuse or other extreme behaviour. A combination of less obviously unreasonable behaviour can be sufficient.

If the marriage has irretrievably broken down and one of the five facts applies – what happens then?

This depends on your particular circumstances. It is often sensible to try to obtain your spouse’s consent to the divorce and to try to reach agreement over the grounds for the divorce. For example, if you agree that a petition can be based on ‘unreasonable behaviour’ you might agree the particular examples of behaviour to be quoted. This can prevent bitterness and resentment at a later time.

What does the petition actually look like?

Every petition follows the same basic format. It contains basic information about the relationship and gives details of the fact relied upon. It will also ask for the marriage to be dissolved and will ask for financial matters to be dealt with.

What about the children?

Orders relating to any child will not normally be made within the divorce proceedings itself.

When parents separate and ultimately divorce, they continue to share Parental responsibility for their children. Parental responsibility encompasses all the rights and duties which a parent has regarding a child, including the right to decide where the child should go to school, what form of religious upbringing the child should have, and what medical treatment the child should receive

Are financial issues dealt with before the divorce is finalised?

It is not necessary for financial arrangements to be completed by the time the divorce is final. Often they will be in the early stages, particularly if the circumstances are complicated. However efforts should be made to resolve interim matters such as maintenance. Sometimes it may be advantageous to wait to finalise the divorce until finances are resolved. You should always seek specific legal advice.

Are the proceedings public?

Court proceedings are usually private. However the press may publish the fact that a divorce has been pronounced.

What if we reconcile?

The Court has power to adjourn proceedings to see whether reconciliation can be achieved. Alternatively, as stated above, the proceedings can be ended at any time before the final decree.

What happens in the proceedings?

Firstly the divorce papers are sent to the Court and the Court will then send copies to the other party by post. The Acknowledgement of Service form indicating whether or not the divorce will be defended, should be sent back to the Court within seven days of receiving the papers.

The Court will send a copy of the Acknowledgement of Service to the Petitioner’s solicitor. An application may then be made for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. This is the point when the District Judge will consider whether or not the contents of the Petition have been proved and a divorce can be pronounced. The Court will also consider any claim made that a party should pay the costs of the divorce itself.

If so a date will be fixed for pronouncement of Decree Nisi. This is unlikely to be less than two months from the application.

If the Respondent fails to return the Acknowledgement of Service then alternative methods of service may have to be considered or, in certain circumstances, applications may have to be made to the Court allowing the petition to proceed in the absence of the Acknowledgement of Service

The divorce is not final until the Decree Nisi has been made absolute. The Petitioner can apply to the Court for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute six weeks after pronouncement of Decree Nisi. The effect of the Decree Absolute is to finally end the marriage and leave the parties free to re-marry if they choose.

If the Petitioner fails to apply within four-and-a-half months from the date of Decree Nisi, the Respondent can apply for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute. However, if you do have to make this application you will not be granted the Decree Absolute automatically. A short hearing will be fixed before a District Judge who will consider whether it is reasonable for the divorce to be finalised.

Therefore, the whole process can take as little as four to six months to conclude, but can take six months or more in certain circumstances.

Defended Divorces

Defended proceedings rarely achieve any positive result but instead will usually increase the time, acrimony and cost of the proceedings.

Legal Aid

It is extremely rare for Legal Aid to be granted for defending divorces.

Notice of intention to defend

If the respondent intends to defend, he will normally return the Acknowledgement of Service stating that he intends to defend the petition. He must give this notice within seven days from service of the petition.

If he does not file this notice, he can still file an answer. If he does give notice, he is under no obligation to file an answer if he changes his mind.

Filing an answer

The answer is the defence to the petition and must be filed within 21 days after the date for filing the Acknowledgement of Service, indicating the intention to defend, ie 28 days in total.

If this time limit is unlikely to be met, permission must be sought to file it out of time, even if directions for trial have not been given.

If the Respondent fails to file an answer within the specified time period, and no application to file out of time has been made, or granted, then the Petitioner can ask the Court to proceed and grant the Decree Nisi on the basis that the Respondent has failed to file an answer.

When the case becomes defended, the judge can transfer the case to the High Court. He will do this only if he considers that, owing to its complexity, difficulty or gravity, it is more appropriate to deal with it in the High Court.

Subsequent procedure

Further statements of case can be filed. Directions for trial will be given (Case Management) and eventually, usually after a long delay, there will be a hearing in open court.

Disputing allegations raised in the petition

If the Respondent accepts that the marriage has irretrievably broken down but disputes certain particulars then he/she may wish to file an answer.  However, if the purpose of doing so is to answer allegations which might be raised again in children or financial proceedings, it is usually sufficient to write to the Petitioner’s solicitors, at the time of filing the acknowledgement of service stating “ the Respondent accepts that the marriage has irretrievably broken down but does not accept certain allegations in the Petition.  He/she reserves the right to reply to those allegations if raised in any subsequent proceedings relating to children or financial proceedings”.

Regularising your separation

If you would prefer to regularise your separation without actually divorcing there are two options available:

  1. Judicial Separation or;
  1. Separation Agreement.

Judicial Separation

This involves a Court procedure that is virtually identical to that which applies to a divorce. The essential difference is that the Court pronounces a Decree of Judicial Separation rather than a divorce and therefore you and your spouse remain married. The effect of a Decree of Judicial Separation is to confirm that you are legally separated. Again, you should note that the proceedings can be stopped at any time up to the pronouncement of the decree of judicial separation.

Separation Agreement

Many couples prefer to reach an agreement about financial matters arising out of their separation without involving any Court procedures at all. The way this can be achieved is for them to sign a written legal document that incorporates the agreement they have reached. Commonly, such agreements deal with confirmation that the parties to the marriage are to live apart and the manner in which maintenance and/or property are to be dealt with. Whilst there are no restrictions on what can or cannot be included in such an agreement, it is important to bear in mind that should either person make a subsequent financial application to the Court, the Court is not bound by the financial arrangements contained in the Separation Agreement.

How can Austin Kemp Solicitors in London help?

Our divorce solicitors help clients from London and the surrounding area with a range of legal issues, including:

Our London divorce solicitors are located in the heart of London.

Our London client meeting office is on the corner of Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall, this impressive building overlooks the world-famous Trafalgar Square. Connections are also plentiful, with Embankment and Leicester Square just minutes away, and the mainline station at Charing Cross also just 2 minutes’ walk. The location means you can easily reach Soho for media and film companies, Covent Garden for its unique shops and the Thames for a scenic view.

Our London divorce solicitors specialise in high net worth divorce and family breakdown cases. Our wealth of legal and business knowledge and experience allows us to apply a direct no-nonsense commercial approach to your case to achieve your objectives.

Our divorce solicitors in London specialise in high net worth divorce, civil partnership dissolution, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, domestic violence, child contact orders, residence (including relocation issues) and child abduction.

London Office: 1 Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW.

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What do our clients say about our service?

Thoroughly excellent service provided via Wikivorce. Was slightly apprehensive of how it would all work, especially at a distance. However, they were swift, efficient, immensely polite, accurate, and gave regular updates. I would recommend them to anyone.

Review of Austin Kemp from Jenny Amphaeris Jenny Amphaeris

Can't fault my experience in any way. Brilliant advice / available at short notice for any questions and most importantly swiftly achieved the desired result. Found Austin Kemp after feeling HCB Solicitors were not acting in my best interests and I was correct on all fronts - even including having an appreciation for the fact Divorce is already emotional situation. Also, rather than have to query every suggested next step and be charged for the pleasure; As I'd done a little research of my own and was able to challenge their advice - however we pay Solicitors for their expertise and need to put our trust in them. Austin Kemp thankfully achieved that for me during our first conversation I was already reassured they understood what I wanted and how best to achieve it. Resulting in 7-8 months less work and no court appearances as I had been previously advised by HCB. I THANK YOU DEARLY AUSTIN KEMP. I can start my life again earlier and with a healthier bank balance because of you!!!

Review of Austin Kemp from Ro Graham Ro Graham

Amazing service. For the first time in nearly two years I feel less in a spiral and more in control.

Review of Austin Kemp from George Grey George Grey

Thoroughly professional, straightforward, timely and reasonably priced. I would recommend this firm to anyone. Thank you Emma and Austen Kemp for a great service.

Review of Austin Kemp from Michelle Jeffrey Michelle Jeffrey

Thank you so much. You were great. I wasted so much time and money with my previous solicitors and only regret I did not contact you earlier. I have dropped a line to Paul to thank him for referring me to you. I hope you enjoyed the red I sent you as a token of our appreciation.

Review of Austin Kemp from Sophie Taylor Sophie Taylor

Austin Kemp provides a pragmatic and honest approach to the individual's journey through Family Law issues. They demonstrate a willingness and capacity to respond to challenging and unpredictable circumstances. The professional, yet personal, service is naturally client centred, but with a realistic and informed view of children's needs. And it has been heartening to have such a caring team walk beside me in the long journey.

Review of Austin Kemp from Tara Costello Tara Costello

I cannot recommend highly enough Austin Kemp as a strong, commercially intelligent and the most effective negotiators. Their negotiation skills are second to none. I have seen firsthand the excellent results this team achieves for their clients.

Amber Potts

Just want to say thanks so much for everything. You have been brilliant and very patient. I always felt comfortable calling when asking to clarify certain points of the divorce.

Review of Austin Kemp from Jade Downes Jade Downes

I can honestly say that I am more than satisfied with the management of my case and of my then state of mind. I highly recommend this firm. Thank you.

Review of Austin Kemp from Shana Krug Shana Krug

Amandeep Kooner was not prepared to be swayed from a path of professionalism to accommodate my anxiety and frustration. He would not succumb to taking instructions tit for tat response. He ensured at all times that the response he gave reflected a dignified client with a pleasant demeanour. In so doing he demonstrated his commitment to protect and secure my interests and dignity off which I am most grateful.

Review of Austin Kemp from Phil Barbour Phil Barbour

Although he has a dual approached role which is business and a duty of care, Amandeep Kooner showed concerns for the level of expenditure that I had already put out with no resolve. His team contained the work to the minimum and produced the maximum results. My case was quickly progressed without compromising compassion and understanding.

Review of Austin Kemp from Audra Reid Audra Reid

Very professional service! Explained everything they were doing for my case every step of the way and really helped me to understand how we would proceed. Thank you!

Review of Austin Kemp from Charlotte Tsang Charlotte Tsang

Intellectually bright, hardworking and extremely professional - Amandeep Kooner took my case at it most difficult as I had come to the end of my ability to remain calm and patient. Up until I instructed Austin Kemp, I had lost all hope that any solicitor could convince me in pursuing a non-retaliatory approach as I was losing ground to allegations and fabrications. Tough, hardworking and extremely professional.

Review of Austin Kemp from Vanessa Blackwell Vanessa Blackwell

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      Austin Kemp Solicitors
      1 Northumberland Avenue
      Trafalgar Square
      WC2N 5BW

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