The New Cost of Divorce

The government are planning a rise in the fees you pay to get a divorce and this may have a real impact on people who are stuck in unhappy marriages. Senior family court judges are concerned that women will be particularly affected by this new increase in fees. They commented recently that ‘there is something unappetising about the state making a profit on a legal necessity and a source of unhappiness for people’.

Whilst the judiciary are unhappy about this new rise, what are the facts and who will it affect the most?

The plans, that are now the subject of a Common’s Justice Committee Enquiry, are to increase costs by 34 per cent – in real terms this is a rise from £410 to £550. This is the latest in a long line of increases in the cost of divorce. In fact, the cost for a couple getting a divorce has actually gone up by 600 per cent in only two years. This is as a result of the current government pushing the burden from the taxpayer to the individuals involved.

However, the government have not only increased the fees to ensure they cover the cost of the service, they are actually making a profit on divorce – they will take over £66 million in profit each year from unhappy couples and put this towards maintaining the court system.

Whilst for many people £550 to get out of an unhappy marriage may be a price worth paying, it may put a number of people at a real disadvantage and leave them in a position where these fees create a very real barrier to leaving their marriage.

Senior judges, both from the Judicial Executive Board and from the High Court, suggest that people are being encouraged to stay in bad marriages due to financial constraints. The impact on them and on their children could be devastating. They also claim that this goes against one of the fundamentals of British justice – that access to justice should not be sold – everyone should have access regardless of their means. In addition, they fail to understand why people who wish to get divorced should subside the court system.

It seems this issue will continue to be debated for some time.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999, reply to this email or use the form below and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).


Trend Rising in ‘Silver Divorces’








There have been some concerning new figures showing those over the age of 60 are divorcing more than ever. Divorce rates in this age bracket, has more than tripled in the last twenty years.

The new figures have surprised many but there are a number of reasons behind the current surge.

One of the more obvious reasons is the amount of older people who are now living in the UK. The longer people live, expectedly this pushes up the number of divorces. Some older people may take the decision that they do not want to be in an unhappy marriage for another twenty years and so divorce could open up new doors.

The second reason is more to do with the stigma that divorce use to bring. Generally there seems to be a relaxation of the attitude towards divorce. There no longer seems to be the same concern, shame of stigma that there once once 30 years ago. Divorce now seems to be an option.

One of the other reasons the Office for National Statistics looked at was the divorce rates in men and women across the board. The figures showed in general, women are more likely to file for divorce then men, with only 34% of divorces being granted to men. Yet, when you start to look at the over 60s, there is a complete split down the middle. Men are just as likely as women to be filing for divorce.

There could be many reasons for this; women now have much more independence and most will have been working throughout much of their life and will have their own money to be able to live independently. Perhaps as life expectancy increases, the so-called ‘Mid Life Crisis’ is actually being pushed back until later in life, once a man feels he has seen his responsibilities to his wife and family through.

Whatever the reasons, the trend has developed over the last 20 years and it will be interesting to see what the next 20 years bring for the new ‘Silver Generation’.

For more information or details of any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

Do I Have Grounds For A Divorce?


Small divorce pebbleThere is only one reason you can get divorced in the UK and that is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, it is necessary to prove to the courts that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. To do so, you must demonstrate that one of the five facts of divorce has occurred.

The five facts of divorce are:

  1. Adultery – if your husband or wife has had sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex, this will amount to adultery. This will not apply if your husband or wife has had relations with someone of the same sex.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour – if your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you can no longer bear to live together, you can use the fact of unreasonable behaviour. This might include abuse (physical and verbal), substance abuse or the failure to contribute financially.
  3. Desertion – if your husband or wife has left you for no good reason, without your agreement, or for more than 24 months in the past 30 months, this will amount to desertion.
  4. Separated for two years (and you both agree) – if you and your husband or wife have been living apart for two years – and you both agree to the divorce – you can use the fact of two years’ separation.
  5. Separated for five years – if you and your husband or wife have been living apart from more than five years, you can use the fact of five years’ separation. You can use this fact even if your husband or wife does not agree to the divorce.

We want to give you the advice you need so just ask for more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772424999, email or use the form below:

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Summer Loving Happened So Fast..

Small S pebbleIt’s undoubtedly one of the most well-known Grease songs out there. But with the summer holidays fast approaching, do romances such as Danny and Sandy’s still occur or could it all be a thing of the past?

The question comes after recent research shows that couples who meet online have a better chance of staying together. The study, carried out by the University of Chicago, found that more than a third of people who married in the US between 2005 and 2012 met online. That represents a 19% rise from five years ago. What’s more, those who met their spouse online reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who did not.

But one problem that online dating presents is that people can abuse the system. If you meet someone at work or through friends, you already known their name and basic details and there are other people who can vouch for their history and character traits. On the internet however, you are meeting people out of context, meaning you can only go on the information they provide – which could of course be inaccurate.

Overall online dating proves to be incredibly successful both for the people using the services and also the service providers too. One of them, Cupid PLC has been listed on AIM since 2010.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999 or use the free enquiry form below:

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65 Second Divorce- Is This the Quickest Ever?

Small divorce pebble65 Second Divorce – Is this the quickest divorce ever?

After nine years of marriage, it took just 65 seconds for multi-millionaires Ben and Kate Goldsmith to divorce at London’s High Court.

It took just over a minute for a Deputy District Judge to grant a divorce on the grounds that Mrs Goldsmith (nee Rothschild) had committed adultery. Although the co-respondent was not named, it is widely thought she cheated on her husband (the son of the late billionaire James Goldsmith).

As so often is the case, the separation was followed by some feelings of animosity between the couple. And yet the 65 second scene in the courtroom took place just one year after their marriage broke down, demonstrating that divorces do not need to be long and drawn out.

This story goes against the widespread assumption that divorce proceedings are bitter, protracted and very expensive. It is a plot often focused upon in TV dramas, whereby a couple cannot work together to reach an agreement and subsequently go to war, with the court room acting as the primary battle ground.

But it does not have to be this way. Divorce can be amicable, and it can be quick. Just as the Goldsmiths’ experience shows, you only need a court to grant a petition, something which takes a matter of seconds (65 seconds, to be precise). This will undoubtedly have made it much less stressful for those concerned, particularly the pair’s three young children, all of whom stand a better chance of adjusting to the split now their parents are on good terms.

Even if a ‘kitchen agreement’ cannot be reached between divorcing spouses, legal action through the courts should be a long way down the to-do list. Instead, alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation should be attempted, as this is extremely effective in helping divorcees settle financial and childcare issues – without the intervention of a judge.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999 or use the free enquiry form below:

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Prenuptial Agreements

A “prenup” or Prenuptial Agreement is a contract entered into before marriage/civil union usually setting out the terms on how to divide property or spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. The terms can vary widely but can include many eventualities including conditions of guardianship or forfeiture of assets in the event of divorce on the grounds of adultery.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be recognised by the courts certain criteria need to be met.

  1. Prior to entering into the agreement, both parties must receive independent legal advice, therefore, both parties must instruct their own solicitors.
  2. Both parties must have made full and frank disclosure of their respective financial positions. This is usually done by way of a schedule, which can be attached to the agreement, setting out all the relevant financial details including assets, liabilities, income and pension entitlement, etc.
  3. Neither party must be put under any pressure to enter into the pre-nuptial agreement.
  4. The agreement should be completed at least 21 days before the wedding.
  5. The agreement must be realistic and fair. If the agreement is weighted too far in favour of one person, there is little chance of it being upheld by a court in any potential divorce proceedings.

Whatever situation you are in you need to talk your options through and we will help work out what is best for your situation. We always offer free initial advice so call us on 01772 424999, email or use the form below and we will call you back:

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Divorce Services

Divorce Packages /Services 

Advisory & Petition Service

  • First half hour face-to-face appointment with expert Solicitor
  • Completing Divorce Petition and Information to be given to you
  • Applies to Petitioner and uncontested divorces
  • Does not Include Finance or children advice

Full Divorce                                                                                                                                           

  • First half hour face-to-face appointment with expert Solicitor
  • Whole divorce process including completion of forms, issuing petition and obtaining decree nisis and ultimately decree absolute
  • Applies to Petitioner and uncontested divorces
  • Does not Include Finance or children advice

Respondent Only                                                                                                                                

  • First half hour face-to-face appointment with expert Solicitor
  • Assist you in completing the acknowledgement of service and will provide information about your divorce.
  • Does not include advice regarding children or finances

Financial Matters in Divorce

  • Initial financial advice and provision of the relevant forms                                        
  • Representation at a Hearing FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution)                                               
  • Financial dealings including initial advice, statement of information, drafting an agreed consent order, brief correspondence and reaching agreement where required.


As matters regarding children can be complicated you need to speak to us to make sure you best protect you and your children.


Your situation is very specific to you and you may not be able to categorise or set down what you need. Don’t worry as we can work out what you need to help your situation and then give you a breakdown of what it will cost you.

Our aim is to provide you fixed fees where possible so to allow you to budget your finances. If we cannot we shall keep you informed of where your bill is up to and agree a plan for paying your fees which suits everyone.

Keep your Divorce Behind Closed Doors

Divorce is commonly associated with bitter legal wrangles in which the personal lives of each party are dragged through the courts. This can be extremely distressing for those concerned, not to mention extremely damaging.

However, there are ways to keep your divorce behind closed doors, with one of the most effective methods being arbitration. As a form of alternative of dispute resolution, it is becoming increasingly popular amongst divorce cases. It has a number of advantages, with cost and confidentiality being its two major draws.

Both parties must agree to the use of arbitration before the process begins. As long as both parties agree, there will be a hearing during which both parties and their legal representatives meet with an impartial arbitrator. It is an informal setting and there is no cross-examination. Rather, each party take it in turns to explain to the arbitrator the nature of the grievance, detailing what is preventing the couple from reaching a resolution. This might be money issues or arrangements regarding future childcare.

When all the evidence has been heard, the arbitrator will consider everything before making a decision, known as an award. This is final and legally-binding. Both people must abide by whatever verdict the arbitrator has made.

It therefore provides a quick and definitive close to a divorce dispute. Not only does this prevent costs from spiralling out of control, it keeps emotional distress to a minimum. Furthermore, it is a private process, the details of which cannot be disclosed. This differs to the public arena of the courts where nothing is sacrosanct. This will be very beneficial, particularly if either party is high up in business or has a public profile.

If you would like to know more about the ways in which arbitration can help you during your divorce, simply get in touch with us to discuss the matter further. This will give you the chance to ask any questions you might have, allowing you to understand whether arbitration might be a suitable option for you.

Plus- we have just restructured our divorce services and can offer specific services. Click Here to checkout our different options. We can still tailor the service so if the option is not there let us know and we can talk you through your best option.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999, email or use the form below to contact us

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What Do You Get, When you Fall in Love..?


To quote Burt Bacharach: what do you get when you fall in love? During the month we celebrate St Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d take a closer look at this question and tell you about some quirky St Valentine’s Day facts…


  • It is thought the origins of St Valentine’s Day date back to 270 AD when Claudius II reigned over the Roman Empire. He outlawed marriage amongst his soldiers, believing single men made better warriors. But Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and married couples in secret. When Claudius discovered this, he had the bishop arrested. Whilst in prison, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and on the day of his execution wrote her one final love letter which he signed: “From your Valentine”. He was beheaded on 14 February.
  • Bishop Valentine’s execution coincided with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, dedicated to Juno, the goddess of women and fertility, when boys were encouraged to draw from a jar the names of girls written on slips of paper. Wanting to replace pagan festivities with Christian holidays, Pope Gelasius set aside the day to honour St Valentine in 496. The saint gradually became adopted as the patron saint of lovers.
  • In 1537, King Henry VIII officially made 14 February the holiday of St Valentine. It remained a part of the Catholic Church’s calendar until 1969.
  • During the 1700s in England, on the eve of St. Valentine’s Day, girls would pin four bay leaves to thier pillows and eat a hard-boiled egg, including the shell. Supposedly whichever boy she dreamt of that night would soon be her husband.
  • The first box of St Valentine’s Day chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868.
  • Around the world, some one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
  • Verona, the Italian city in which Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is set, receives around 1,000 letters every Valentine’s Day addressed to Juliet.
  • In the United States, approximately nine million people will buy their pets a Valentine’s Day gift.
  • In Welsh tradition, a calf born on St Valentine’s Day would be unsuitable for breeding, while any eggs laid by hens would be rotten. A child born on 14 February would, however, have many lovers.
  • A group of feminists set up an alternative to St Valentine’s Day in 2003. It is called Quirkyalone Day and is intended for those who wish to “resist the tyranny of coupledom.”

As this is the month of love, we hope that our family team has absolutely nothing to do and nobody to help. However if you do need to speak to someone please call 01772 424999, email or fill in the form below:

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January rise in Divorce?

January Is Often The Busiest Time Of Year For Divorce

Family law departments often face a manic start to the year, as January traditionally sees a rise in divorce proceedings.

The timing does, in a way, make sense. The festive season will often heighten any problems, as couples must spend increased amounts of time with each other, children and their in-laws – something many will find stressful. Even the weather is a contributing factor, as rain and snow force people to remain at home.

The consequence is that people begin to reflect on the state of their relationship over the long holiday period. Then January kicks in, the bills arrive, the expense of Christmas becomes a reality, and arguments ensue. Suddenly husbands and wives reach tipping point and begin to contact divorce solicitors.

This theory is supported by the statistics. In 2012, searches for divorce on the Ministry of Justice website nearly doubled. Family lawyers are reporting another rise this year, causing some to dub the first week back at work ‘divorce day.’

In response to this January peak, the Government has announced plans to invest a further £10 million into mediation services across the country. Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular tool for divorcing and separating couples who are unable to decide upon financial and childcare matters. When compared to court proceedings, the mediation process on average saves each client £3,500, and takes about quarter of the time.

The Government’s commitment to supporting mediation was highlighted by Family Justice Minister Lord Thomas McNally, who said: “All too often money is wasted on expensive and traumatic court hearings that can take far too long to resolve – and that is why we want to help people to use mediation, a quicker and simpler approach which brings better outcomes.”

Nevertheless, it is still vital to seek independent legal advice before proceeding with mediation. This is because you must know your rights before you agree to anything or you could end up losing out.

We have just announced and released a new way of providing divorce services. We can offer divorce services from as little as £49.00 as we tailor our service to what you specifically need. Therefore, reducing costs for you but ensuring you still get the advice. Check out our new divorce page and costing to find out how we can help you or use the contact form below and we will call you free of charge.