London Divorce Solicitor
If you are looking for a London divorce solicitor & separation solicitor, we at Goodsells understand that family law matters are extremely sensitive. Whether you are facing divorce, separation, or a dispute concerning your children, we are here to help.
We will listen carefully and explain your options clearly. Our advice is tailored to your circumstances and aims to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Goodsells is headed by Donna Goodsell, a highly skilled family law solicitor with over 20 years of experience exclusively focusing on family law and divorce matters. All work we undertake is designed to ensure the highest quality of service for every client.
If you and your partner are thinking about divorce or separation, we can provide advice and support on the legal practicalities. Contact us to find out how we can help.
Specialist divorce advice for clients across London
Our aim is always to achieve fair and practical solutions for you and your children while minimising stress and animosity.
We can provide legal advice on matters including:
We appreciate that every client’s circumstances are different, so we will take the time to meet and listen to you. We will then develop a strategy to achieve your desired outcomes.
Divorce proceedings can cause a great deal of worry, but at Goodsells Family Law, we will always be on hand to address any concerns you have in a clear and sensitive way. It is very important to us that you are fully informed and comfortable throughout.
We, as divorce lawyers, will do everything possible to reach a workable agreement without the need for court action. However, if court proceedings are required, our skills in advocacy and litigation mean that your case will be in excellent hands.
Making arrangements for children and financial settlement on divorce
Arrangements for the care of children and financial settlement are not part of the divorce process itself, but we understand that these matters will be at the forefront of your mind.
We will provide support so you can reach an agreement with your ex-spouse that protects your interests and those of your children. This can usually be achieved non-confrontationally through negotiation or family mediation. If this is not possible, we can assist with an application to the court. We are fully trained collaborative family lawyers.
We aim to reach consensus swiftly and efficiently, advising you clearly on your rights and how to achieve your desired outcomes. From the earliest stage of proceedings, we can provide sympathetic and confidential advice on your options, as well as on the legal effect and implications of divorce for you and your family.
Excellent value for money
Our divorce solicitor in London offers highly competitive and cost-effective rates in all cases. For straightforward divorces, we also offer a fixed-fee divorce service.
We take a transparent approach to fees and always seek to keep costs as low as possible. Your solicitor will provide you with regular and fair estimates for the cost of your case to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
Contact our divorce lawyer in Clapham, London
Whatever stage of the process you are at, Goodsells Family Law team is here to help.
How do you get a divorce?
The process will be slightly different depending on whether you and your spouse are applying together (a joint application) or you are applying alone (a sole application).
The sole application divorce process is as follows:
- You complete the divorce application (normally done online but can be completed on paper and posted if you prefer).
- The court formally ‘issues’ your divorce.
- The court sends a copy of the application to your spouse (the ‘respondent’) along with an ‘Acknowledgment of Service’ form.
- The respondent returns the ‘Acknowledgment of Service’ form (must be done within 14 days of receiving it).
- 20 weeks after the court issued your divorce, you apply for the Conditional Order.
- The court issues the Conditional Order. This order states that the court sees no reason your divorce cannot proceed. This was formerly known as the ‘Decree Nisi’.
- 6 weeks after the Conditional Order is issued, you may apply for the Final Order.
- The court issues the Final Order. This means that your marriage is now legally ended.
The joint application joint process is the same as above, but without steps 3 and 4. This is because your spouse is making the application with you, so there is no need to notify them.
It is important to note that this process only covers the legal procedure to end your marriage. Making a financial separation and arrangements for children is entirely separate.
How long does a divorce take?
Divorce proceedings to legally end your marriage now take a minimum of 26 weeks (6 months). This is due to changes introduced from 6 April 2022 when the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force.
The new divorce rules introduced a 20-week "reflection period” before you can apply for the Conditional Order, which on top of the 6-week wait to apply for the Final Order after the Conditional Order is granted, adds up to 26 weeks.
What are the grounds for divorce in the UK?
There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales – that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.
Under the old rules (before 6 April 2022), you had to give one of five acceptable reasons for the breakdown of your marriage, but this is no longer the case thanks to the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce (see below).
What is ‘no-fault’ divorce?
It is now possible to obtain a ‘no-fault’ divorce in England and Wales. This means there is no longer any need to give a reason for the end of your marriage or for one spouse to “take the blame”, which is a major change from the previous rules. This should significantly simplify proceedings and remove one of the largest sources of conflict.
No-fault divorce was introduced by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which came into effect on 6 April 2022. This also introduced several changes, including allowing joint applications (where both spouses apply for a divorce together) and removing the possibility for one spouse to oppose the divorce (except in very limited circumstances).
How long do you have to be separated before divorce is automatic?
There is no such thing as an automatic divorce. Under the old rules (before 6 April 2022), you could apply for a divorce if you had lived separately from your spouse for at least 5 years and they could not contest this.
Some people may have considered this an ‘automatic divorce’, but an application still had to be made. This has now been made redundant by the introduction of no-fault divorce under the new rules.
What happens if a spouse doesn’t respond to divorce papers in the UK?
For sole applications, the respondent is legally required to respond to the court within 14 days of receiving notice of the application. If they fail to do so, the court may have the papers delivered in person and the respondent will bear the cost of this.
If the respondent fails to respond, the court can still allow the application to proceed if it is satisfied that the respondent has received notice of the application.
What is mediation in divorce?
Mediation is a process for amicably agreeing on the division of finances and arrangements for children with your spouse during divorce. It is now the most common way for these issues to be dealt with.
Mediation helps to avoid conflict, as well as generally being much faster and less costly than court proceedings. You will normally need to at least consider mediation before you will be allowed to take your divorce to court, if this is your intention.
The mediation process involves you and your spouse meeting with a trained mediator, usually over a number of sessions. The mediator acts as a neutral third party to facilitate a productive discussion and to head off any potential for conflict. They will not tell you what to do or give advice on how issues should be decided, but they can advise on any points of law.
It is recommended to speak to a divorce lawyer before and after mediation to ensure you know your rights and so that they can advise you on the suitability of any decisions you have reached.
Any agreement made through mediation will be recorded in a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’. This is not legally binding but your solicitor will convert it into a draft ‘Consent Order’ and send it to court for approval.
What is the difference between divorce and separation?
Separation means living apart, but without getting divorced. This can be a good option if you want some time apart to reflect on whether divorce is right for you, or when there are religious, cultural, or other personal reasons for avoiding divorce.
If you are planning to separate from your spouse, you should consider making a formal separation agreement. This involves agreeing on what happens to the family home and other shared assets, as well as making arrangements for any children you have.
A separation agreement can give you certainty and security. It can also be used as the basis for any later divorce settlement and child arrangements if you do eventually choose to divorce.