Divorce | Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Solicitors | Austin Kemp

Divorce & Family Law

Divorce

When a marriage is coming to an end, there are usually two main ways to legally leave the relationship: divorce and annulment.

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Legal 500
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Both divorce and annulment allow couples to legally end a marriage, and whilst both processes share several similarities, there are some significant differences between the two.

Divorce allows couples to legally end a marriage, whilst annulment declares the marriage void or null – as though it never happened. Whether the court grants a divorce or an annulment will usually depend on your and your partner’s circumstances.

Understanding whether you should apply for a divorce or an annulment can be confusing, especially during a time that is already emotionally challenging. At Austin Kemp, our experienced divorce lawyers help guide you through the process with expert legal advice.

Our divorce expertise

As expert divorce lawyers, we know how to help you navigate the complex world of divorce, separation, financial and children matters.

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When emotions are high and it’s hard to see clarity, we are by your side every step of the journey.

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We’re here to serve you and get whatever you deserve. Whatever challenge you face, we’re here to help you.

Expert Advice

When you choose us, you are choosing a highly specialist law firm. Unlike other firms that offer a plethora of services, our depth of expertise helps give you the advantage.

Proactive Service

We understand that you want to get your divorce done, so you can move forward with your life. Our solicitors understand this, and make sure we do everything to speed the process up.

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We Make The Complex Simple

When emotions are high and it’s hard to see clarity, we are by your side every step of the journey.

bob

By Your Side

We’re here to serve you and get whatever you deserve. Whatever challenge you face, we’re here to help you.

bob

Expert Advice

When you choose us, you are choosing a highly specialist law firm. Unlike other firms that offer a plethora of services, our depth of expertise helps give you the advantage.

bob

Proactive Service

We understand that you want to get your divorce done, so you can move forward with your life. Our solicitors understand this, and make sure we do everything to speed the process up.

Talk to us now on 0333 311 0925

Divorce

Deciding to end a marriage by beginning divorce proceedings is often a painful and difficult time.

During this time, emotions can run high. This is why it is important to seek specialist independent legal advice as soon as possible.

In England and Wales there is no such thing as a ‘no blame’ divorce. You must establish that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To show that this irretrievable breakdown has occurred (and for you to be granted your divorce) you have to prove that one of three things has happened – either unreasonable behaviour, adultery, or separation for at least two years.

If your ex doesn’t consent to a separation divorce, you might have to wait five years before obtaining the divorce.

You may need to present the court with evidence that one of these has happened in order to prove that an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage has occurred. Without evidence in one of these categories, you will not be able to divorce.

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Our Divorce Solicitors

We have a team of specialist solicitors who can guide you through what is often a difficult process. Whether you are the respondent or the petitioner, or you are still considering your options, we will discuss your divorce with you and advise you how to proceed. If your case has an international element, we will help and advise you through the processes of the international courts.

We are also able to negotiate an agreement with your spouse’s solicitors in advance of the documentation going to court to ensure that the grounds of divorce are agreed and to avoid any lengthy and potentially expensive dispute.

We can also advise on and handle any injunctions or financial freezing orders to prevent money or assets being hidden. These can even be done before your spouse is notified of the divorce proceedings.

Annulment

An annulment is issued by the court to declare a marriage as void, treating the marriage as though it never existed. An annulment can sometimes be used as an alternative to a divorce; this is generally used by couples who have a religious or moral issue with divorce.

A marriage can be either voidable or void if certain legal requirements are not met. A voidable marriage will be seen in law as a valid marriage up until the date of the annulment, whereas a void marriage is considered to have never been legally valid at all.

Our Divorce Solicitors

Voidable Marriage

Whether a marriage is void or voidable depends on a number of legally recognised factors. A marriage is voidable if certain conditions are met, these can include:

  • A marriage that has not been consummated
  • A marriage that was entered without valid consent from either party, either due to duress, drugs, alcohol or lack of mental capacity
  • One party was pregnant with another partner’s child at the time of the marriage
  • The other person had a sexually transmitted disease
  • Major issues that were not declared to the other spouse at the time of entering the marriage, such as drug issues or criminal history

Void Marriage

A void marriage is considered as never being legally valid. A marriage is considered void if:

  • Spouses are closely related
  • Either spouse was not of legal age to marry
  • The marriage took place somewhere that was not legally registered to perform the ceremony
  • Either spouse was already married

Annulment Legal Advice

Even if you think your marriage is void then it is still strongly recommended that you obtain legal advice as you may need paperwork to prove it in the future. At Austin Kemp, our divorce lawyers provide expert legal advice to guide you through the annulment process.

When this marriage is annulled it will, in law, be seen as if it never happened. If the marriage is voidable through annulment, then financial claims will still be allowed through a nullity petition. If it is deemed to be void (to never have existed), then only financial claims for the benefit of the children will be allowed. This can have a considerable impact on your assets, especially if you are a high net worth individual.

If it can be proven that either party knew they could end their marriage through an annulment but led their partner to believe that they wouldn’t do so, then that party will be stopped from applying for nullity.

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Divorce

Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce FAQs

I’m thinking of getting a divorce. When should I first contact a solicitor?

Deciding to end a marriage by beginning divorce proceedings is often a painful and difficult time.

During this time emotions can run high. This is why it is important to seek specialist independent legal advice as soon as possible.

By getting the right advice early on in the process you can take control of the situation and gain what can often be reassuring legal advice on where you stand with regards to finances or what will happen to your children.

Thinking about the issue further and not acting can cause you to feel like you have no control over the situation and can end in you feeling more distressed emotionally.

Although it makes no difference in English and Welsh law whether you or your spouse files for the divorce, this is not so in other jurisdictions.

This makes it especially important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible if another country’s jurisdiction may have a say in your case, especially if you are a high net worth individual.

Being the petitioner rather than the respondent in this instance may make all the difference.

You could decide to complete the divorce proceedings yourself. However, this can often end in frustration and arguments between spouses and neither getting the outcome they desired or deserved.

You may find that the fees you pay to your solicitor are easily paid back in the better settlement you achieve.

Using a solicitor also means that a divorce should be less stressful because you shouldn’t be dealing with the day-to-day issues.

No solicitor will pressure you to make up your mind – we are there to give advice and to guide you through the process should you wish to proceed.

How long will my divorce take to go through?

The length of time it takes to get a divorce can vary from each case. Once the respondent has been served the petition then the decree nisi can be applied for and, as long as the grounds for divorce are accepted, the decree nisi can then be pronounced in court.

When the finances have been finalised, then a decree absolute can be applied for. When you have your decree absolute, you are officially divorced.

The decree absolute cannot be applied for less than 6 weeks and 1 day after the decree nisi has been pronounced in court.

If you or your spouse is a high net worth individual with international investments and pension funds then this process could take much longer, as your financial settlement will potentially be highly complex.

Austin Kemp’s experienced team of solicitors specialise in advising high net worth individuals through the divorce process.

Availability of court dates can also slow the process down, meaning that there is rarely only 6 weeks and 1 day between the decree nisi and the decree absolute.

From start (the matrimonial order application or petition) to finish (the decree absolute), divorces usually take around 6 months. This figure can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your situation including your finances and childcare arrangements.

Should I negotiate my divorce myself or get a solicitor to do it?

Divorce can be an upsetting and highly stressful time and emotions can often run high. If you feel that you and your partner are able to negotiate the terms of your divorce settlement yourselves, without the help of a solicitor, then you are of course able to do this.

Some couples, however, find that it helps if someone else can negotiate for them, as negotiations between themselves involve highly charged emotions and can often end in arguments.

If you do decide to negotiate between yourselves it is always a good idea to have a meeting with a specialist solicitor, such as Austin Kemp, so that you fully understand your legal rights and what you could expect in a divorce settlement.

It also enables you to make sure that you’re doing everything correctly so that no claims can be made against you by your ex-spouse in the future. Instructing a solicitor to negotiate on your behalf could relieve some of the pressure in this already stressful time.

Legal advice is even more important if you or your spouse are high net worth individuals with international assets and pension funds. Austin Kemp can advise you on how to proceed and, if necessary, can advise you on any proceedings in international courts.

I’m thinking about getting a divorce. How much would this cost?

The cost of the divorce itself is usually quite small compared to what it can cost to separate your finances.

If your spouse contests the petition this could increase the cost of your divorce proceedings. However, this is not especially common.

Potentially, where most of your costs will lie is in the separation of your finances. Sometimes it is possible to agree your finances with your spouse relatively quickly and therefore your costs will be quite small.

This can be done between yourselves, through solicitors or through some form of mediation. However, if you cannot agree and end up going to court then your costs can rise rapidly.

You can only go to court to resolve your finances once the divorce petition has been issued. Both parties will need to make a full disclosure of their financial situation.

Usually, up to three hearings will take place: the First Directions Appointment, the Financial Dispute Resolution and then the final hearing.

The purpose of the first hearing is to decide if you or your spouse need any further information, or if the court needs any further information, before the negotiations can begin.

At the second hearing (the FDR) the judge indicates what they think is fair and both parties are encouraged to reach an agreement. Most cases are settled at this stage.

If both parties cannot agree then the final hearing will take place and the judge will give the final order after both parties have given their evidence.

It is worth noting that what is seen as fair in one case may not be fair in another and, although the judge must take into account the factors in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, it is case law that provides guidance on the interpretation on this.

Both you and your spouse can claim for income, capital and pension provision. The more complex your financial situation the more lengthy the process can be and the more the costs can rise.

What do I need to consider before getting a divorce?

It’s a huge help when you’re getting a divorce to understand your rights. You may feel that you and your spouse could administer the divorce proceedings yourselves and in England and Wales the law does allow you to do this.

Most people see this as a way to save money by not paying solicitors.

However, by not getting legal advice as to your rights and what you could expect your divorce settlement to look like, it could actually end up costing you more money.

With specialist legal advice you are able to effectively negotiate with your partner, whether you choose to negotiate the terms between yourselves or involve a mediator.

This can help to make you feel more confident and in control in what is an emotional and unsettling time. Even if you choose not to take the advice you received from a solicitor it will give you a better understanding of, for example, what you are entitled to with regards to maintenance payments.

Administering a divorce entirely alone and without the advice of a solicitor can also result in problems in years to come if finances haven’t been settled properly.

If you or your spouse are high net worth individuals with complex finances then legal advice is even more important, so that you get the settlement that you’re entitled to.

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Choose Austin Kemp and you'll get a premium service in all areas. We aren't the cheapest out there, but what we are is the best solution to help you get what you deserve.

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Our advice and strategy is second to none. Not all law firms are created equal. Because we're specialists, our depth of knowledge is often the edge that makes the difference.

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We work with you to get what you deserve. We don't mean that it's going to be easy – but we're here to support you every part of the journey.

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We have A-players at every level. We employ the best of the best, and that's why our clients choose us. Because getting the right solicitor can mean your future takes a different path.

The Right Fit

We'll make sure you have a solicitor that fits your case type. If you want a certain approach to your case – we'll make sure your solicitor has the right style for you.

Empathy

We know that getting a divorce divides your world into two. We're here to guide you through the uncertainty and emotional rollercoaster. One step at a time.

First Class Service

Choose Austin Kemp and you'll get a premium service in all areas. We aren't the cheapest out there, but what we are is the best solution to help you get what you deserve.

Impeccable Advice

Our advice and strategy is second to none. Not all law firms are created equal. Because we're specialists, our depth of knowledge is often the edge that makes the difference.

Challenging Thinking

We work with you to get what you deserve. We don't mean that it's going to be easy – but we're here to support you every part of the journey.

Industry Leading Professionals

We have A-players at every level. We employ the best of the best, and that's why our clients choose us. Because getting the right solicitor can mean your future takes a different path.

The Right Fit

We'll make sure you have a solicitor that fits your case type. If you want a certain approach to your case – we'll make sure your solicitor has the right style for you.

Empathy

We know that getting a divorce divides your world into two. We're here to guide you through the uncertainty and emotional rollercoaster. One step at a time.

Talk to us now on 0333 311 0925

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Austin Kemp is Rated Excellent

Austin Kemp handled my divorce efficiently and pleasantly, with a consistent contact person, making it all convenient online. Their straightforward online payment system was a necessary evil, but I'd use them again if needed.

Referred by an online service, I chose Austin Kemp for divorce and financial settlement with my ex-wife. Emma's assistance was invaluable; I paid for a guidance check on the consent order before submission. Court process went smoothly, and I'm content with the outcome.

Throughout the process, Emma guided me, addressing any issues promptly. No complaints—consent and pension sharing orders approved swiftly after submission, indicating accurate document preparation.

Austin Kemp's team deserves only praise. Highly knowledgeable and passionate about client support, they saved the day. Tenacious advocates, they stood by me till the end. I highly recommend them—no need to take chances with other firms!

Alex Clarke, 'The Saviour,' actively handled my case, ensuring clear communication and understanding throughout. He promptly responded to calls and emails, investing time even before any formal agreement. His integrity convinced me he was the right choice to represent me. When it comes to issues concerning children, contact Alex Clarke—'The Saviour.'

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