Divorce and Separation

Navigating the path of divorce and separation with compassion, expertise, and care with our Family Team by your side.


What do I need to prove to get a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership?

In order to be eligible for a divorce or dissolution, you must have been married or in a civil partnership for at least one year, your marriage or civil partnership must be legally recognised in the UK and the UK must be your permanent home (or that of your spouse/civil partner).

There is only one ground for a divorce or dissolution and that is that the marriage or partnership has irretrievably broken down. This allows parties to divorce or dissolve their partnership without assigning blame.

How long does the divorce or dissolution process take?

The divorce and dissolution process takes a minimum of 26 weeks. Once your application has been issued by the court there will then be a 20-week period from the date on which the application was issued before the you can apply to the court for it to make the conditional order of divorce/dissolution.

This gives you a period of time to reflect on the decision to proceed and to try to resolve any arrangements regarding children and finances.

The final order confirms that the marriage or civil partnership has legally ended. You can apply for the final order six weeks and one day after the date of conditional order.

Can I stop divorce or dissolution proceedings?

It is not possible to defend a divorce or dissolution. The court will not determine whether the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or partnership has been proved and will take the application as conclusive evidence.

The only grounds on which a divorce or dissolution may be disputed are:

  • The validity or subsistence of the marriage or civil partnership; or
  • The court’s ability to accept the proceedings because the jurisdiction is queried. This means that the UK is not the right country for the divorce or dissolution to take place.

If you have reconciled, or changed your mind about the divorce or dissolution, then it is possible to stop the process any time before the final order has been granted by the court.

What are the effects of divorce or dissolution?

A divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership affects inheritance under a Will.

Although you may have separated, you remain legally married or civil partners until Final Order is granted. Obtaining Final Order in proceedings can however take time, and is often delayed to allow for financial matters to be resolved. As a result, if you die before Final Order is granted, and without a will in place, your estate may pass to your spouse/civil partner under the intestacy rules or under the terms of any will you have not reviewed. Therefore, you may wish to update your will upon any separation.

Once the Final Order has been obtained you should also consider either changing your existing Will or making a Will. Obtaining Final Order legally brings your marriage or civil partnership to an end and would mean that any gift to your spouse or civil partner in your Will or appointment of them as executor will no longer take effect.

Please visit our Will, Probate and Estate Planning Team pages for further information regarding updating your Will.

Obtaining Final Order in divorce means that you are no longer legally married or civil partners. It does not resolve the financial claims that exist following a separation. It is important that you obtain advice on resolving financial matters as early as possible. You can find further information on resolving your financial arrangements here.

For more information on how we can help support you through your separation, please contact our Family Team.

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Suzy and her team were extremely helpful and understanding and helped me to deal with matters at a very stressful time.
Client of Suzy Hamshaw
Stephanie is exceptional. I will forever be grateful to Stephanie for her unrivalled expertise, care and guidance during the intense process of family separation.
Client of Stephanie Buckeridge
Stephanie provided a fantastic service. She was responsive, very considerate in her approach and provided feedback during the entire process. I genuinely can’t think of anyone more capable and qualified to support family law cases. Highly recommended.
Client of Stephanie Buckeridge
The service has been excellent from all the individuals of the law firm. They were polite, knowledgeable and very helpful. I would definitely recommend Gardner Leader.
Client of Simon Fisher
Thorough attention to detail. Prompt replies. Good perception of priorities and timing. Flexible enough to allow my own opinions to prevail occasionally. Achieved the outcome I really wanted. Would recommend.
Client of Simon Fisher

Meet the Divorce and Separation Team

Meet the Divorce and Separation Team