Frequently Asked Questions about divorce


How can the family team help me?

We can help and advise in all aspects of family law including:

Divorce and separation Contact with children
Residence of children Financial matters
Injunctions Cohabitees’ rights
Care proceeedings Adoption
Change of name Grandparents’ rights
Civil partnerships Parental responsibility


Can I get legal aid / How much will it cost me?

Legal aid is no longer available for divorce proceedings. We offer a range of fixed fees to help you with all or part of the divorce process.

When can I get divorced?

You can initiate divorce proceedings after you have been married for one year.

Do I have to go to court to get divorced?

Most divorces are effectively dealt with as paper transactions. Documents can be filed and the court will consider the divorce petition without needing anyone to attend. We can advise you on the paperwork needed and the process.

What are the grounds for a divorce?

There is just one ground for divorce – irretrievable breakdown of marriage. However, you have to prove irretrievable breakdown in one of five different ways. These are: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for two years, separation for two years with consent from the other party, and separation for five years where no consent is needed.

How long does the divorce process take and what is involved?

A typical divorce takes between 6 and 9 months. Much depends on whether or not your spouse responds quickly when he or she receives your petition.

What if the respondent does not return the acknowledgement of service form?

You will need to arrange for the court bailiff to personally serve the divorce documents on the respondent. If successful, the court bailiff then swears an affidavit confirming service. Should the respondent still not respond, you proceed to the next stage which is an application for Special Procedure whereby you use the bailiff’s sworn affidavit as an exhibit. You will have to pay the court a fixed fee for this service. From the date of service, you must allow 29 days for your spouse to respond. If they do not, you can then apply for the decree nisi which is the first decree in your divorce.

How long do I have to wait before I can apply for the decree nisi to be made absolute?

Six weeks and one day. After this you can apply for the decree absolute.

Financial disputes: do I have to go to court?

Financial disputes can frequently be resolved by straightforward negotiation between the parties or alternatively using mediation. If this fails then you can make a court application but at the same time continue to try to negotiate a settlement. Sometimes we may advise that a court application should be made in order to establish a timetable for resolving the outstanding issues. We can advise on all the various courses of action and on the likely impact on your financial future.

What is a consent order?

A financial consent order is a record of the terms agreed between the parties in relation to their finances following the breakdown of their marriage or civil partnership. Frequently it reflects terms agreed by mediation, on a collaborative law settlement or by negotiation. A document is prepared and supported by brief financial details, and those documents are put before a judge for consideration. It is dealt with as a paper exercise and it is not necessary to attend court. Consent orders are very useful as they serve to avoid any future dispute over what the parties agreed at the time of the divorce. We can advise you fully on the terms of any order before you agree to it.

My wife/husband physically assaults me, what can I do?

If you are in that unhappy situation, you can come to us for impartial advice about the best way to protect yourself, whether it be by separation or, if necessary, by application to the court for injunctive relief.

Areas we cover include Huyton, Liverpool, Merseyside, North West, North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire