Having decided to end your marriage, you need to find a way to organise your affairs for the future wellbeing of your family. This may include deciding where everyone will live, agreeing financial arrangements and resolving disputes about children. The support of family and friends will be invaluable in this process, but so too will be having a divorce lawyer at your side who is committed to achieving the best possible outcome.
To apply for a divorce you have to be married for a year. The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Adopting a constructive and non-confrontational approach, the family law specialists at Hatten Wyatt Solicitors in Kent are here to guide you through every stage of the divorce process. We can help initiate or respond to divorce proceedings, as well as assisting you in reaching an agreement on the issues that need to be resolved.
With our empathetic and pragmatic no fault divorce legal advice, we can help you achieve a positive outcome that protects your interests and those of your loved ones – usually without the need for costly, time-consuming and stressful court proceedings.
Book an appointment with our divorce lawyers in Kent and the South East
We can also offer remote meetings by Skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad.
How we can help you through the divorce process
Our divorce lawyers in Kent can assist you with every stage of divorce proceedings, including:
- Advising you on the divorce process
- Completing and submitting the necessary paperwork
- Supporting you in making suitable arrangements and in resolving disputes about children
- Helping you to apply for a parental responsibility order where you have no legal rights in respect of a child you have cared for
- Helping you to sort out financial matters and to resolve property disputes
- Advising you on making a Will or updating an existing will in which your spouse may be mentioned
- Liaising with pension providers when there are issues around entitlement to divide pension benefits
- Explaining the options available to help you reach an amicable agreement, including mediation or collaborative law
- Represent you in any Court Proceedings to resolve financial matters or issues regarding the children.
We can also help with any issues concerning domestic violence or abuse.
Mediation is now the most common way to deal with issues surrounding divorce and separation. It allows you and your former partner to work together to find amicable solutions to issues such as separating your finances and making arrangements for your children.
Mediation involves a series of meetings between you, your former partner and a trained family mediators. The mediator acts as a neutral third party, helping to guide the discussion and defuse any potential for conflict, keeping the process productive.
Mediation typically allows you to reach an agreement on the practical decisions you need to make during your divorce, saving you time, money and unnecessary stress.
Collaborative law offers an alternative way of resolving issues.
The process involves a number of four-way meetings between you, your former partner and your respective lawyers (who must be trained in collaborative law). The goal is to negotiate agreements over a financial settlement, arrangements for children and any other issues that need to be resolved.
The advantage of collaborative law is that you will have the benefit of your own trained legal representative in the room with you during negotiations, giving you instant access to expert advice where there are more challenging matters to resolve. This can help the negotiations to progress faster while ensuring your interests stay protected at all times.
No fault divorce explained
How has the divorce law changed?
For 49 years, the divorce law had remained the same under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and was considered outdated by many. On 6 April 2022, the law changed, set out under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. A number of factors changed, including:
- Removing the five facts to prove the ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’
- Joint applications can be made in addition to sole applications
- No fault or blame put on either party
- No fault divorce cannot be contested
- Introduction of 20 week cooling off period between the divorce application and Conditional Order
- Key divorce terms have changed, including:
- ‘Petitioner’ is now the ‘applicant’ or ‘joint applicants’
- ‘Divorce petition’ is now ‘divorce application’
- ‘Decree Nisi’ is now ‘Conditional Order’
- ‘Decree Absolute’ is now ‘Final Order’
How long is the no fault divorce process?
The minimum time it takes for no fault divorce to finalise is 26 weeks (6 months). However, for some divorcing couples, it may take longer because there are issues with agreeing on financial settlements and arrangements for children.
From when the divorce application is issued by the court, there will be a minimum 20 week wait until the applicant or joint applicants can apply for the Conditional Order, and this waiting time allows couples to reflect and be certain they’ve made the right decision, otherwise known as the cooling off period. Once the Conditional Order has been granted by the court, the applicant or joint applicants are required to wait an additional 6 weeks before applying for the Final Order, which confirms the divorce.
Our divorce fees
Fixed cost initial appointment
We offer an initial appointment to discuss your requirements from £94 plus VAT. We can then advise you of your legal options and the likely costs involved.
Fixed fee divorce
Many of our divorce services can be offered on a fixed fee basis, for example preparing and submitting a divorce application and applying for a Final Order.
Services such as collaborative law may be offered on a fixed fee per session basis.
For more complicated matters, such as dealing with complex financial settlements or issues regarding the children, we will agree a fee structure based on our hourly rates and ensure all work is agreed before any cost is incurred. That way, you can stay in control of the costs of your divorce at all times.
Legal aid may be available in certain cases and is normally always available for defending care proceedings and taking steps to protect against domestic violence or child abuse.
Why choose Hatten Wyatt solicitors for your divorce?
Our Family Law team is headed by Avril Croud, a family lawyer with more than 30 years of experience in helping families to resolve issues surrounding divorce and separation. Avril is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel.
Our family law team also benefits from the expertise of Deborah Nicholson. Deborah has more than 30 years’ experience in family law and is a Resolution accredited specialist and trained collaborative lawyer.
Our accreditation by the Law Society for Family Law and Family Law Advanced recognises our expertise across a wide range of family law matters, including more specialist services such as children law, international divorce and complex financial settlements.
We can also offer the benefit of our Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accredited Residential Property team, who can assist with matters such as selling or transferring ownership of your family home and buying a new home, which often arise during divorce and separation.
Get in touch with our divorce solicitors in Gravesend, Kent & South East England
If you need help with any aspect of divorce, please get in touch with our sensitive, expert no-fault divorce lawyers to see how we can help.