Contact Us

Judicial Separation & Divorce Solicitors

In order to formalise your separation in the eyes of the court you will need to bring a petition for either divorce or judicial separation. We have extensive experience dealing with all aspects of this process.

What is a Divorce and Judicial Separation?

There is only one ground for bringing a petition for either divorce or judicial separation: ‘irreconcilable breakdown of marriage.’ A divorce allows you to re-marry once the final decree (the Decree Absolute) is pronounced. A Judicial Separation takes place in rare cases such as where one party has strong religious views and do not want the stigma of being a divorcee and/or if the parties have been married less than a year. You will need to bring either a divorce of judicial separation petition if you would like to agree to a financial settlement and in order to formalise the end of your marriage.

Legal basis for divorce

The legal position on divorce and judicial separation is governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. There are changes being implemented that will allow no-fault divorce but these are still making their way through Parliament. Judicial Separation proceedings can be issued even if the 12 month period has not expired.

Occasionally, and in rare cases (such as when a couple separate without ever living together at all), it is also possible to apply for an annulment but the process is not straightforward. The divorce process in encouraged by the courts is deliberately a relatively straightforward one that can be brought after a year of marriage.

Grounds for divorce and Judicial Separation

You have probably heard about or read about the main grounds for divorce which are (most commonly) unreasonable behaviour, adultery (if the petition is brought within 6 months of finding out about the adultery), two years separation with the respondent’s consent and five years’ separation. It will be possible at some stage in the future to petition on the basis of no-fault but that is not presently the position until the legislative changes are implemented by Parliament and turned into law. Contrary to common misconceptions, what you put on your petition remains private and usually does not alter your financial claim.

How we can help you

The team at Fletcher Day are a London-based team of specialist partners with a combined knowledge of over 80 years of post-qualification experience covering a wide and extremely varied client base. We have an understanding of the courts up and down the country as well as years of experience in dealing with matters involving divorce and judicial separation. We have a collection of reported cases, varied and specialised experience as well as a combined tenacious attitude to argue your case in the best and most effective way possible. We act for a wide range of individuals from our local City client base to all sorts of individuals based both here and internationally.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch on 020 7766 5260 , fill in our ‘How can we help’ form or get in touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can't I just download the online application and do everything myself?

You can but if there are complications or difficulties with the process, the advantages of having a lawyer can be considerable. We have had numerous examples in our experience of procedural complexities or flaws in the drafting of “DIY” documentation and sometimes it can cost more to fix than the divorce itself. That is why we recommend using a solicitor to help guide you through the process.

Do I need to go to court to divorce?

No. The process in England and Wales is deliberately designed to be an administrative process and in most cases is relatively straightforward.

My spouse is a rotten adulterer, if I write all about his adulteries in my petition, will I get more money?

No. A common misconception is that what you write on a petition will affect your financial entitlements. In reality, it rarely does and the courts encourage parties to agree the grounds of petition if possible. The courts usually also encourage parties not to name individuals who committed adultery with your spouse as it complicates the process and makes it more antagonistic and expensive.

My spouse has said they will not sign the papers, what can I do?

Unlike you sometimes see in some films or on television, your spouse not signing the papers does not stop a divorce. You can apply to court for an order deeming that they have been served or, if you cannot find them, you can apply to dispense with service.

Latest Insights

Articles & Media

A new beginning or the end of a relationship?

April 6, 2020

Contact Us

Fletcher Day's excellent practice provides good quality, realistic and sensible advice, with particular expertise in the casual dining and retail sectors. - The Legal 500, 2019