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Family Law FAQs

Family Law FAQs

How much will it cost?

  • We offer a first appointment for a fixed fee of £100 (inc.VAT). This will give you the opportunity to discuss the issues you are facing and we can explain the necessary legal work.
  • We will provide you with a costs estimate and discuss with you the various ways that your costs can be paid.
  • We will also tell you if we believe that your costs estimate is likely to be exceeded at any point during the handling of your case and explain why.
  • For further information please go to our Legal Fees page.

What should I bring to the first appointment?

  • Photo ID,
  • your marriage certificate and,
  • any court orders or paperwork that concern the case.

How long does a divorce take?

A divorce generally takes between 4-6 months from start to finish, depending on how quickly your spouse deals with the paperwork once they have been served with the divorce papers, and how matters are dealt with by the court.

  • Firstly a petition is prepared and issued.
  • This is then sent to your spouse and they have 14 days to return an acknowledgment form.
  • You can then apply for the Decree Nisi which is when the court is satisfied you are entitled to a divorce and grants the application.
  • The final stage is to apply for the Decree Absolute which is the final decree and can be applied for 6 weeks after the Decree Nisi has been approved.

Can I keep the house?
We understand that the thought of losing your home is extremely worrying. We will discuss your options and provide you with advice and guidance to help you deal with the issues.

  • We work with experienced Independent Financial Advisors who can provide advice about remortgaging or raising a lump sum to purchase your partner’s share of the property.
  • If you have children then depending on your circumstances you may be able to stay in the property until they are 18. Whatever your circumstances we will provide the legal support you need.

What if I don’t resolve all of the financial issues alongside my divorce?

  • If you do not resolve the financial issues at the same time as the divorce, it remains open to you to raise these at a later date, or your former partner can do so.
  • Your claims only come to an end either by the making of a final order containing any agreement, or if you remarry.
  • However, be aware if you remarry and your former spouse doesn’t, they can still bring a claim against you if they wish.

I think my partner may be hiding assets, what can I do?

  • Both parties are entitled to full disclosure of each other’s assets and it is a criminal offence to hide them.
  • The courts take a very dim view of individuals who try to reduce or conceal assets.
  • The sanctions available to the court include making orders for legal costs or even imprisonment.
  • If you believe that your partner is trying to hide assets talk to us about your concerns as this is a complex area of law and good advice is vital.

How much contact should I have with my children?

  • There are no precise rules as to how much contact should take place following a separation and it depends very much upon your circumstances.
  • We will always encourage you to try and deal with the issue of contact on an amicable basis for the benefit of the children involved, but we understand that this is not always possible and can provide appropriate advice and legal support whatever your situation.
  • If you and your partner cannot agree on the terms of contact, then a referral can be made to Mediation. If Mediation is unsuccessful then we can apply to the Court for a decision.

What is a child arrangement order?

  • A child arrangement order is a court order specifying who the children will live with and what time they should spend with the other parent.
  • These used to be referred to as residence and contact orders.
  • The courts work on the basis of a “no order” principle which means that an order is not usually made if you have reached an agreement with your partner.
  • In situations where it cannot be agreed then a child arrangement order may be necessary to determine where the children live.
  • The Court will consider, as it’s main priority, what is best for your child/children.
  • In order to do this a checklist is completed to help them decide who your child/children should live with.

As a mother/mum how do I obtain parental responsibility for my child?

  • As a mother you automatically have parental responsibility for your own children.
  • If you were married at the time of your child’s/children’s birth then both parents automatically have parental responsibility.
  • If you were unmarried parents whose child/children were born:
    • after December 2003 and the father is named on the birth certificate he will also automatically gain parental responsibility.
    • pre December 2003, parental responsibility can be obtained by the father either by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with you and registering this with the court, or by a Parental Responsibility Order being made by the court.
  • If you have adopted a child then you obtained parental responsibility upon completion of the adoption.

At Waddington Turner Wall Solicitors we can effectively guide you through these processes.

As a father/dad how do I obtain parental responsibility for my child?

  • The mother automatically has parental responsibility for any children born by her. If you were married at the time of your child’s/children’s birth/s then both of you automatically have parental responsibility. If you were unmarried parents whose child/children were born:
    • after December 2003 and you are named on the birth certificate you will also automatically have parental responsibility.
    • pre December 2003 then your parental responsibility can be obtained by either entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother of the child and registering this with the court, or by a Parental Responsibility Order being made by the court.
  • If you adopted a child then you obtained parental responsibility upon completion of the adoption.

At Waddington Turner Wall Solicitors we can effectively guide you through these processes.

What is Mediation?

  • Mediation is where an independent qualified mediator will try to help you and your partner come to an agreement about your separation/divorce whether that involves a child/children and/or a financial settlement.
  • You would usually meet the mediator alone firstly to discuss the process, and if you are both agreeable, joint meetings would be arranged, with the mediator facilitating the discussion and ensuring that you are not pressurised into something you are not happy about.
  • The solicitor who acts for you or your partner cannot act as the mediator, although what you discuss at the mediation sessions can be shared with us.
  • The main focus of the sessions will be to talk through the issues to see if there is any possibility of an agreement being reached.
  • The law requires that you must try mediation before you can issue an application through the courts.
  • Mediation can be less stressful and cheaper that the court process depending on whether you are both happy to approach matters in this way, but it is not always successful.
  • It is also helpful for you to meet with your solicitor between mediation sessions to discuss what has been proposed and any concerns you have.

Free Initial Enquiry

We would be delighted to explain how we can help you. For your free, initial enquiry, please: