Divorce can be tough for every member of the family. Questions about dividing your finances and where your children will live can feel overwhelming. Our specialist divorce solicitors can help make things less stressful. We make getting divorced swifter, more positive and more cost-effective with friendly, professional support every step of the way.
Our expert divorce solicitors in Bournemouth can help with every aspect of divorce. This includes divorce applications, financial settlements and arrangements for children. With years of experience, we can skillfully guide you through even the most complex situations.
We firmly believe in promoting the non-combative resolution of family law matters. With us by your side, it is unlikely you will need to go to court. This can save you considerable time, cost and stress. We can help you with private negotiations and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, so we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to divorce. We will get to know you as an individual as well as your goals. We can then tailor our advice and give you the best possible chance of achieving the outcome you want.
Concerned about the cost of divorce? We offer a fixed fee divorce service.
Our clients come to us from across Bournemouth, Poole and the wider Dorset area for our expertise and friendly, personal approach.
What our divorce solicitors in Bournemouth can do for you
We can help you sort out every aspect of your divorce in Bournemouth, including:
Divorce applications are now relatively straightforward following changes to divorce law in England and Wales from 6 April 2022. A couple can either apply for divorce together (a ‘joint application’), or one spouse can apply alone (a ‘sole application’). Divorce applications are usually made online but can be made via post if you prefer.
There is no longer any need to provide reasons for the divorce. You simply need to make a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The new process is often called no-fault divorce as there is no longer any need for either spouse to ‘take the blame’ for the marriage ending.
Our divorce solicitors can help you to make your divorce application, ensuring all necessary information is included. We can also help you apply for the Conditional Order (an interim step in the divorce process) and Final Order (which legally ends your marriage).
We can help you come to a divorce financial settlement which fairly divides your assets and protects your financial position. You can then move on with your life feeling safe and financially secure.
Generally, couples are able to reach a settlement informally without involving the courts. Where appropriate, we can help you access methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as mediation. These have a strong success rate for helping divorcing couples come to fair, amicable agreements. We can also apply to court for a Consent Order to make your financial settlement binding.
On other occasions, where the parties do not agree what settlement should be made and will require the assistance of the Court. In each of these cases, we can help. We have achieved thousands of successful divorce settlements, both simple and complicated. In each and every case, we will strive to obtain the best divorce settlement for you.
We are highly experienced in court proceedings to deal with the division of finances in divorce (known as “ancillary relief proceedings”). This usually involves attending Court on at least one occasion, usually two and, in limited cases, three times or more.
We will be there to help and represent you for what we know can be very stressful occasions. If necessary, we will instruct a barrister on your behalf to represent you in more complicated matters.
We will always be clear and transparent as to the costs involved. Our aim is to achieve a divorce settlement that is good for you whilst being mindful of the cost, both in financial and emotional terms, to you and your family.
Your financial settlement should cover what happens to assets such as:
- The family home
- Any second homes, holiday homes and buy-to-lets
- Family businesses
- Personal belongings and family heirlooms
The settlement should also set out any required arrangements for spousal maintenance and child maintenance payments.
Read more about how our divorce solicitors can help with divorce and finances.
Understandably, decisions about children are often the most contentious issue between divorcing couples. The happiness and welfare of your children will be absolutely central to our advice.
Our goal is to reach a suitable agreement that works for all members of the family. Like financial settlements, ADR methods such as mediation are great for helping families come to an arrangement in a positive, neutral environment, reducing the risk of conflict.
We can help you resolve issues such as:
- Where your children will live
- How much time they will spend with their non-resident parent
- Where they will go to school
- Whether they can go abroad on holiday
- Whether one parent can change a child’s name
Read more about how our family lawyers can help with child arrangements.
Why choose Preston Redman’s divorce solicitors
At Preston Redman, we combine professional family law knowledge with a warm, approachable and personal service. Based in Bournemouth, we welcome clients from across the town as well as nearby Poole and the wider Dorset area.
Whatever the circumstances of your divorce, we want you to feel comfortable, supported, and able to talk openly about your situation. We will always prioritise your personal interests and the welfare of your children. You can expect to achieve a resolution that works for you in the long term.
Amongst our extensive expertise, we are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme, and Head of Family Law Tim Flower is an accredited specialist of the Family Law Panel. Two members of our team, Mark Hensleigh and Helen Davies are members of Resolution. Mark is also a qualified mediator.
Preston Redman is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
How does the divorce process work?
The divorce process will be slightly different depending on whether you are making a sole application or a joint application.
For a sole application, the steps are:
- Complete a divorce application (normally now done online).
- Submit the application.
- Your local family court will formally ‘issue’ the divorce application.
- The court will send a copy to your spouse (referred to as the ‘respondent’) along with an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ form.
- Your spouse must return the Acknowledgement of Service form within 14 days.
- 20 weeks after the divorce is issued by the court, you can apply for a ‘Conditional Order’ (formerly a ‘Decree Nisi’).
- The court will issue the Conditional Order – this means the court sees no legal reason your divorce cannot proceed.
- 6 weeks after the Conditional Order is issued, you can apply for the ‘Final Order’ (formerly the ‘Decree Absolute’).
- The court will issue the Final Order – this means your marriage is now legally ended.
For a joint application, the process is essentially the same, except without steps 4 and 5, as these are unnecessary if you complete the application together.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. There is no longer any need to prove that this has happened. Instead, you simply need to make a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’ in your divorce application.
Before 6 April 2022, it was necessary to prove that the relationship had irretrievably broken down. To do so, you had to rely on one or more ‘facts’ or ‘reasons’:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation for at least two years with the consent of both parties
- Separation for at least five years, no consent needed
- Desertion for at least two years
Now that this requirement has been removed, there is no need for one spouse to take the blame for the divorce or to wait years to divorce on the grounds of separation.
Do you need to have a reason to get a divorce?
No, under the new no-fault divorce rules, you can get divorced simply because you and/or your spouse wish to.
How long does divorce take?
There is now a minimum 6-month (26-week) wait to get a divorce. This is because the new divorce process includes two mandatory ‘reflection periods’ to help ensure couples are absolutely certain they want to separate. These are a 20-week wait before applying for the Conditional Order and then a further 6-week wait to apply for the Final Order.
It is important to note that this only refers to the time needed to legally end your marriage. Separating your finances and making arrangements for children can be faster or take much longer, depending on the circumstances. Generally, if you can agree on these issues amicably, it will be much faster than if you need to rely on court proceedings, which can take years.
Will I have to go to court to get a divorce?
You won’t need to go to court to get a divorce as it is now usually no longer possible for one spouse to contest or ‘defend’ divorce proceedings brought by the other.
The only time a divorce could be contested is if one spouse claims the court does not have jurisdiction to handle the divorce, e.g. because neither spouse has a connection to England or Wales, the marriage was not valid, or the couple are already divorced.
You may need to go to court if there is a dispute over finances or arrangements for children, but this is rare. These issues are usually sorted out through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.
What will you pay?
The total fee is £1,973 assuming there are no unforeseen problems. For the avoidance of doubt, the full fee will be payable even if you withdraw from the process at any stage.
We will ask you to pay the fees in three instalments, as follows:
- £900 – payable at your first meeting
- £673 – payable when the application is ready to be 'issued' by the Court – the Court fee payable at this stage is covered below
- £400 – payable when we apply for the Conditional Order.
The fees break down as follows:
- Our Fees + VAT = £1,380
- Court fee on filing the application = £593.00
What work is covered?
This plan covers the preparation and issue of the divorce application and all the steps that need to be taken to obtain the Final Order.
If your spouse fails to return the Acknowledgement of Service form, this could lead to an additional fee. This is because it may become necessary to have a further set of the papers delivered by hand by an Enquiry Agent so that the divorce can progress.
If this is necessary, our fees will increase by the cost of the Enquiry Agent’s fees. Usually, we are able to give you an indication in advance of the likely cost.
What work is not covered?
- Enquiry Agents fees if the papers have to be served personally on your spouse (as explained above)
- The fee for obtaining a copy of your marriage certificate (£9.00)
- Any advice and proceedings concerning property, finances and children
How will any subsequent proceedings relating to your property or any children be paid for?
The financial aspects of your divorce and any issues concerning your children will need to be addressed and are not covered by this package. We are usually able to give you a clear indication of the likely costs involved.
Divorce law insights from our team
- How Is a House Divided in Divorce?
- Daily Telegraph Owner Accused of Failing to Pay Ex-wife £50 Million - What Divorcing Couples Can Learn About Avoiding Conflict
- What Happens in a Divorce If You Commit Adultery?
- Bill and Melinda Gates Divorce Reflects Growing Trend of Amicable Separation
- Good Divorce Week 2020 - What Makes a Good Divorce?