What do our Divorce Solicitors specialise in?
Divorce is the legal process to end a marriage. If your relationship with your spouse is difficult or has broken down, you may first consider talking to a Counsellor or engaging in Mediation to see if the marriage can be saved. If it can’t, then the family team at Sweeney Miller solicitors can advise and guide you through the divorce process that, if uncontested by your spouse, broadly breaks down as follows:
- Apply to the court for a divorce
- If your spouse has petitioned, responding to the petition to acknowledge
- Apply for a decree nisi, the document confirming that the Court sees no reason why you should not get divorced
- After 6 weeks and one day, go back to Court and ask for a decree absolute, making your divorce final.
Seeking legal advice at the start can ensure this process runs smoothly and quickly.
Separation without Divorce
Sometimes called Judicial or legal separation, this process is similar to divorce but at the end of it, you will still be married. If you are not sure if you are ready to divorce or there are religious or cultural reasons why divorce would be inappropriate, then a legal separation could be an option. This is an agreement between you both to set out how you will live and how your property and finances are managed following the separation. The separation process involves:
- One of the couple applies to the court for a separation
- Depending on whether the petition is agreed or contested, the court will formally approve the separation
- Family finance arrangements can be made, and decisions made regarding any children
- There can be issues surrounding pension arrangements with judicial separations.
It is important to get professional advice as soon as possible to help you decide which route to follow.
Civil Partnership Dissolution
As with divorcing couples, separating Civil Partners will need to apply to the Court for a dissolution. The legal processes are broadly the same as divorce with the same entitlements in terms of property, maintenance payments, pension and arrangements for the children. Sweeney Miller is experienced in dealing with all aspect of Civil Partnerships and can guide you through the dissolution process.
Will I have to go to Court?
If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, it is possible to avoid Court, saving stress, time and money. If you can’t agree on how best to separate, the divorce solicitors at Sweeney Miller Law will represent you in Court, offering advice and guidance along the way.
What about the children?
Understandably, separating couples will aim to have as little impact on any children involved as possible. Our child custody lawyers are experienced in dealing with child arrangement orders, as well as specific issues such as going on holiday, relocation and grandparents’ rights.
What else do I need to know about divorce?
Matrimonial finances and assets must be finalised in a legally binding Clean Break Consent Order if you want to protect yourself from any future claims your spouse may make. We can advise you about the implications of splitting up and protect your interests with our team who specialise in divorce and financial settlement, divorce and splitting assets and divorce and pensions.
Divorce and legal separation both affect any Wills that you may have. If you never had a Will, then your ex may be able to claim on your estate if you die. We have a team of wills and probate solicitors who can ensure that your wishes are met after the split.
How much will a divorce solicitor cost?
Generally, in divorce cases, each side is responsible for paying their own legal bills. We understand that no one wants to be stuck in a long, protracted court battle with their ex, leading to mounting legal bills. The family law solicitors at Sweeney Miller are proactive and offer pragmatic advice to help keep your case moving along. With our experience, we recognise when a case is losing momentum and ensure that any hold-ups are quickly dealt with, providing robust representation when needed, enabling you to move on with your life.
If you are concerned that you won’t be able to pay for our help, we can work with you to agree on a payment plan. Assessed on an individual basis, we may accept deferred payments made upon the sale of a property or once the family financial arrangements are agreed. We want to help you find a way to fund your legal costs, whilst ensuring that you receive the best possible advice and support. We will advise you of all the options and likely costs involved as your case progresses, so there are no surprises.
With offices in Sunderland and Newcastle, our family lawyers work with clients across the North East. For a free no obligation first discussion please get in touch: