Divorce

Divorce and separation advice from Boys & Maughan focuses on alternatives to court proceedings and is geared towards finding solutions and lasting agreements, which look after the needs of our clients and interests of any children.

Our specialists, who are based in Margate and Canterbury, recognise the benefits to couples and their children of working together for the benefit of the whole family rather than focussing on conflict. See our collaborative page or watch the video here for more details of our usual approach.

There is no one size fits all approach to divorce. We explain all of the available options and fully support our clients in their preferred process, ensuring at all times that their interests are paramount. Our lawyers have decades of experience of dealing with separation and divorce between them. They often spot pitfalls clients are unaware of saving them time, money and unnecessary worry.

Call or email us and we will explain how we can help. We believe you will be pleased with the approach we take and our fees.

Divorce and separation
If you are having problems in your marriage or partnership, you should first consider whether these difficulties could be resolved with the help of a trained relationship counsellor. Organisations such as Relate could help you.

If you do decide to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, we are here to advise and guide you through the process. We will outline your options at every stage and give you the information to make your own decisions. 

Wherever possible we will tell you in advance exactly how much each stage of your divorce will cost. However, this is not always possible which is why you should give serious consideration as to how you plan to fund your case. To assist you with this we offer a range of fixed fees - please ask us for more details.

No fault divorce
Couples can now divorce without apportioning blame. Most people we see are seeking to divorce with dignity through a constructive, collaborative approach so the change is welcome.

Reform was long overdue because making it difficult to obtain a divorce did not keep people together, it usually just made the situation worse. Before 6 April 2022, if you wanted to start divorce proceedings, you would need to provide a reason for the divorce even if you felt the agreement to split was mutual. If you had not been separated for more than two years, you would have to attribute fault or blame to your spouse. Understandably, blaming your partner for the breakdown of the relationship can increase the likelihood of an acrimonious divorce. The impact can be huge and it goes without saying that worse communication between separating couples makes it much more difficult to find solutions to childcare arrangements and financial matters.

The divorce process
Divorce will always remain a painful process, regardless of the legislation involved but couples who have decided to divorce are now more able to concentrate on working out an amicable parting and future for them and any children. There is time included in the process for reflection but ultimately the law will trust individuals to decide if their marriage is over with less judicial scrutiny and discretion involved.

  • No fault - couples no longer need to provide a reason for the breakdown of their marriage;
  • You can apply for divorce with a joint application;
  • There is a mandatory 20 week “cooling off” period between making your application to court and the court providing the first of two orders of divorce, giving parties the chance to discuss the best way forward or consider reconciliation;
  • The divorce application can no longer be contested by either party, except on grounds of the validity of the marriage. Divorce does not therefore have to be a joint application.

For many people the decision to leave a partner follows years of anguish. There can be difficult issues to resolve, sometimes requiring professional financial advice or mental health interventions, for example. You can expect your lawyer to have the experience to smooth the process and contacts to provide any necessary additional support.

We recognise that no-fault divorce may help end the ‘blame game’ and prolonged resentment, but it doesn’t mean that all couples will suddenly stop blaming each other. We also recognise that separating couples will still usually feel deep feelings of hurt and upset, and our lawyers are in no doubt that helping clients through a no-fault divorce will require a high degree of sensitivity.

Making the process easier additionally has important implications for the most vulnerable, especially those living with domestic violence or under coercive control.

Orders
New terminology to replace decree nisi and decree absolute was introduced on 6 April 2022. Conditional Order is the first order of divorce and confirms that the court does not see any reason for the divorce not to continue. The second order is the Final Order which ends the marriage.

The time it takes to get a divorce will vary according to the complexity of your case and the practice of the particular court. 

Aspects of the divorce process that remain the same
Our goal will continue to be to bring your marriage to an end as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

  • Once the divorce application has been made, unless you have submitted a joint application, your spouse will still need to complete an ‘acknowledgement of service’ to confirm that they have received the application from the court;
  • Couples will still have to wait until the first Conditional Order is made before making an application for a financial consent order;
  • There will still be a mandatory six weeks and one day waiting period between receiving the Conditional Order and applying for the Final Order;
  • Everybody still has to pay a court fee to pay to apply for a divorce.

Divorce proceedings that started before 6 April 2022 will continue under the ‘old’ law and procedure and will not cross over to the new approach.

Financial Arrangements
The changes to the divorce process introduced on 6 April 2022 do not affect how solicitors approach financial arrangements negotiations. This process remains the same. An agreement can be made between you and your spouse by consent, or by making an application to the court to start financial remedy proceedings. One of our team can talk you through your options in more detail and you may wish to read our financial arrangements factsheet that’s available on our website before speaking to us.

Your Will
Your legal rights and responsibilities to your ex-spouse may change significantly after you divorce. We recommend that you consider amending your current Will, or, if you do not already have a Will, having one drafted. Our private client team would be more than happy to discuss your options.

Contact us to discuss any questions that you may have about getting divorced.