7 questions to ask your divorce solicitor at your first meeting

Going through a divorce is always difficult. At Tayntons we work to reassure you throughout the process and to make sure you know what to expect at every step of the way. We offer an initial fixed-fee consultation to discuss your situation and explain what you can expect to happen throughout. To prepare you for this first step, the following are questions you may want to ask us at our first meeting.

Do I have the right to a divorce?

For the court to grant a divorce, your relationship must have broken down irretrievably. To establish this, you must show one of the following five facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years’ separation where your spouse consents to a divorce
  • Five years’ separation if your spouse does not want a divorce
  • Desertion

At present you cannot obtain a ‘no-fault’ divorce simply because you and your spouse have agreed that you no longer want to be married.

How long will my divorce take?

Each case differs, depending on the complexity of the issues involved, but as a rough estimate a divorce will take around 6 months to be finalised.

It is advisable to agree on all financial matters before completing the divorce proceedings, so if your spouse tries to delay matters or it is a complicated situation or their representative is slow to respond the time taken could increase substantially.

Who will our children live with?

Ideally, this will be decided between you and your ex, with the help of mediation if needed. If this has to be dealt with by the court, the judge will put the best interests of the children first. Shared or joint residence means that the children will have two homes, spending part of the week with each parent. The time spent with each does not have to be equal.

How much will maintenance be?

If you and your spouse have children, you will both be expected to pay towards their support. Ideally, the courts like couples to reach a fair agreement between themselves in respect of child support and if you are able to agree a figure, this will be included in the court’s consent order. If agreement cannot be reached, the Child Maintenance Service will deal with the matter.

Where one spouse earns more than the other, spousal maintenance may also be awarded if the spouse with the lower income cannot support themselves. The sum awarded may be paid as a single lump sum or could be a regular monthly payment for a fixed term or until remarriage. It may also end upon cohabitation with a new partner.

Who will pay the costs of my divorce?

As a general rule, each party pays their own legal fees in respect of their divorce, with the person making the legal application to the court paying the court fees. In some instances, such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour, the court may grant an order requiring the party at fault to pay the other side’s legal costs. This is something to discuss with your legal advisor at your initial meeting.

Will I have to go to court?

If your spouse agrees to the divorce and you are also able to come to an agreement in respect of children and financial matters then there is no need for either of you to attend court.

Is it possible for me to have a divorce if my spouse objects?

It is still possible to obtain a divorce if your spouse objects, although the process may take longer if you are not able to negotiate or agree upon anything. You will need to prove adultery or unreasonable behaviour on their behalf or show that you have been separated for at least five years.

In summary

While the courts will become involved if an agreement cannot be reached, the emphasis in divorce is on the parties reaching an agreement between themselves as to financial matters and child contact and residence. An experienced family lawyer will be able to advise you as to what to expect and what is reasonable and will negotiate robustly on your behalf with your spouse’s solicitor.

At Tayntons we have wide experience in all aspects of divorce and family law. If you would like to speak to one of our expert solicitors, email us at info@tayntons.co.uk, call us on 0800 158 4147 or request a call back and a member of our team will be in touch promptly.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147, 03330 145451, email info@tayntons.co.uk or use our