Divorce and Separation

Reaching the decision that a relationship has broken down beyond repair is an upsetting and unsettling time. As well as dealing with the emotional impact of your relationship ending, there are all sorts of practical issues to sort out, including making arrangements for any children you have and working out a financial settlement.

Our team are here to make that process as painless and manageable as possible, whilst protecting your interests and well-being.  We can take you through all the available options to establish which best suits your circumstances and ensure the whole process is as smooth and amicable as possible.  However, rest assured that, in the unlikely event that matters progress to a court hearing then we will robustly protect your interest.

We aim to help you resolve matters through negotiation and/or mediation without the need to resort to court proceedings. This not only saves you time and money, it can allow you to avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict.

With many years of experience handling divorce and separation for a wide range of people, we can make it as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you to make a clean break and move on. Our divorce lawyers are approachable and attentive, putting your needs first and helping you to get a divorce or separation that works for you and your loved ones.

To arrange an initial consultation with our friendly, supportive divorce solicitors, please contact our local offices in Bishop’s Waltham and Southampton.

How we can help you with divorce and separation

Divorce proceedings

Whether you are initiating divorce proceedings or responding to proceedings started by your spouse, we can give you clear, practical guidance on the steps you need to take. Our divorce lawyers can help you to choose the right grounds for divorce and make sure every detail is taken care of, allowing your divorce to move ahead as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

Our family lawyers can also offer expert help for ending a civil partnership and separation for unmarried couples

Arrangements for children

Deciding where your children will live and what contact they will have with each parent is often the trickiest part of divorce and separation to deal with. In most cases, this is now decided by agreement between the parents, with shared care being the most common outcome, meaning the children spend part of their time with each parent.

We can assist you with agreeing arrangements for your children through non-confrontational options, such as family mediation. Where required, we can also support you through applying to a family court for a Child Arrangements Order if you and your former partner cannot come to an agreement.

Find out more about how we can help you with arrangements for children.

Financial settlements

When getting divorced or separating, it is important to divide your finances in a way that is fair to both parties and that meets your needs and those of any children you have. Our divorce solicitors are experienced in making financial settlements through negotiation and mediation, as well as in court where necessary.

We can advise you on the division of the marital assets upon divorce, which can include maintenance, payment of a lump sum, the transfer of a property between parties, a pension share and the division of assets in sole or joint names.

Our family law team has particular expertise in dealing with financial settlements for high net worth divorces, including for clients dealing with complex financial arrangements, pensions, family businesses and/or limited companies and overseas assets.

Find out more about how we can help you with financial arrangements upon divorce.

Separation agreements

If divorce is not an immediate requirement or option, then a separation agreement may be an alternative. This can be a good choice where you have personal, cultural or religious reasons for avoiding divorce, or where you simply wish to get practical arrangements for living separately in place before moving ahead with a divorce.

A separation agreement allows you to agree issues such as arrangements for children and financial matters, allowing you and your spouse to start living separately while giving you certainty for the future.

Understanding the grounds for divorce

Ultimately there is just one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.  In order to be able to obtain a divorce, you have to be married for one year and it has to be shown that there has been:

  • Adultery;
  • Unreasonable behaviour;
  • Desertion;
  • At least 2 years’ separation with both parties consenting to the divorce; or
  • At least 5 years’ separation if one party does not consent.

Separation for cohabiting couples

It is now very common for people in relationships to cohabit instead of marrying and to cohabit before marriage. There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife – this is an urban myth!  The law does not give cohabitees the same rights to financial support or to share in their partner’s assets on the breakdown of their relationship, in the same way as spouses. 

Separating from your unmarried partner can be a very daunting prospect, especially if you are unclear about your rights. It is important to get good legal advice early on.  You need to know the law and what you should be doing at an early stage in order to protect your best interests.

If you have a cohabitation agreement, we can advise you on its application, including if you need to vary the terms of the agreement due to a change in your circumstances or needs. If you do not have a cohabitation agreement, we can advise you on your legal position and assist you with negotiating a voluntary agreement with your former partner where required.

Speak to our divorce lawyers in Southampton and Hampshire

To arrange an initial consultation with our divorce solicitors in Bishop’s Waltham and Hedge End, Southampton, please contact:

Victoria Baker or Ailie Kelly

Tel: 01489 785737

Email: vbaker@driverbelcher.co.uk / akelly@driverbelcher.co.uk



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