Divorce and Separation

Dealing with the breakdown or the ending of a relationship can be a difficult and stressful time with many questions and concerns – about the process itself, how you stand financially and what might happen to your home and other assets.

How our divorce solicitors can help

  • Advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown including divorce, civil partnership dissolution and judicial separation
  • Advising you about the division of matrimonial assets on divorce including property, savings, investments, pensions and maintenance for both spouses and children
  • If you are a non-married couple, advising as to the claims you may be entitled to make following the breakdown of your relationship
  • Helping you, if appropriate, through mediation

Get in touch with our divorce solicitors in East Sussex

Our clients come to us from across East Sussex, including Rother and Wealden, for our leading reputation in the area of divorce law.

For advice about divorce or separation, including advice about making a financial agreement or arrangements for children, contact your local Heringtons office in Battle, Bexhill on Sea, Eastbourne, Hastings or Rye.

Or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

Our divorce and separation services

Divorce proceedings

If you wish to obtain a divorce, our expert divorce lawyers can take you through the process step by step. We will advise you in respect of both the divorce proceedings and additional matters such as issues relating to children, property or finances. For example, it may be advisable to wait until you have a financial agreement in place before asking the court for a divorce.

We will go through the grounds for divorce with you so that you can be sure that you have the right basis for your divorce petition. We understand how difficult the process can be and we will ensure you have the support and guidance you need throughout.

We have experience advising couples on divorce for same-sex marriages and civil partnership dissolution, so can provide expert advice for all circumstances.

Separation agreements

A separation agreement sets out details for how matters such as finances, children and property will be dealt with once you stop living together. It can be particularly useful for the period before you divorce or if you do not wish to divorce but simply to live separately.

While a separation agreement is not legally binding, if it is well-drafted and you have taken legal advice before signing, the court is likely to give weight to what you have agreed upon. We can advise you as to what you could put into a separation agreement and where necessary enter into negotiations on your behalf.

Division of assets

Dividing your matrimonial assets can often be challenging, particularly where a shared home is involved. We can help you try to reach an amicable agreement about the financial aspects of your separation or divorce.

Where necessary, we can also make a financial claim to the court. In deciding financial issues, the court will try to ensure that both of your needs are met. If you have children, then their needs will be prioritised. Issues such as earning capacity and contribution to the marriage will be taken into account, including child care.

Arrangements for children

If you are going through a divorce or separation then one of the most difficult aspects is likely to be making new arrangements for your children. The courts prefer that parents reach agreement between themselves over issues such as where a child will live, how much time they will spend with each parent and who else they will see.

We can help you draw up a written child arrangements agreement and negotiate the terms with their other parent’s solicitor. If a mutually acceptable agreement cannot be reached, we will help you with the mediation process, which is generally the next step.

In the event that agreement cannot be reached during mediation, we will make an application to the court for a child arrangements order on your behalf.

For more information about our services in this area, see Arrangements for Children.

Our divorce fees and funding

We work efficiently to keep your costs to a minimum. You will be given a clear cost estimate at the outset which will then be reviewed at every stage of your case, so you always know exactly how much our legal advice is going to cost.

We are also able to offer fixed fee divorce services as well as funding options such as deferred fee agreements where appropriate.

Meet our divorce lawyers

Our family law team are friendly and approachable with a high level of experience across all aspects of divorce and child law. They have strong negotiating skills and are often able to resolve disagreements without the need for a court hearing.

For more information about our key team members, see the profiles of partner Natalie Jones and litigation assistant Debbie Burridge.

Divorce and separation FAQs

What reasons can you give for divorce in a divorce petition?

To obtain a divorce, you must show an irretrievable breakdown of your relationship. This can be proved by establishing one of the following:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for two years
  • Separation for at least two years where both parties consent to the divorce
  • Separation for at least five years where one party has not given their consent

How does no fault divorce work?

The current system for obtaining a divorce has long been criticised because of the need to blame someone, for example, by claiming that their behaviour has been unreasonable.

Divorce law is set to change to allow a so-called ‘no fault’ divorce, where both parties can sign a statement claiming irretrievable breakdown of the marriage without the need to make allegations about behaviour or conduct. It is hoped that this will help those going through a divorce do so with less animosity.

How long does divorce take?

The actual divorce process can take around four to six months if it is not contested, however it is often advisable to deal with issues such as financial agreements and arrangements for children before a divorce is finalised. This can mean that a divorce can take substantially longer.

Where issues can be agreed upon by mutual consent, perhaps after negotiation or mediation, it can reduce the amount of time taken.

Do you need to go to court to get divorced?

Most divorces can be dealt with without the need to attend court. If the divorce is uncontested, then the papers can simply be sent to the court to be processed.

It is only if issues are contested that you may need to attend a hearing. This could be because the divorce itself is contested or because you and your spouse are unable to reach agreement over finances, children or property.

What happens if your spouse does not sign the divorce papers?

If you ask the court to issue a divorce petition, then your spouse is required to return the Acknowledgement of Service form when they are notified of your application. If they do not do this, service of the divorce petition by a court bailiff or a process server can be arranged and the form does not need to be returned.

Alternatively, if your spouse has confirmed by letter, text or email that they have received the divorce petition from the court, then you can use this as evidence of deemed service.

Can you get divorced online?

While it is possible to deal with the submission of forms online, it is always recommended that you speak to a solicitor before going ahead with a divorce. They will be able to advise you whether you should first deal with other issues such as making a financial agreement or arrangements for children.

If you do not deal with financial issues at the time of your divorce, it will potentially be open to your spouse to come back to you at any time in the future to make a claim against you.

Helpful tips from our family law team

  • Give thought to closing all joint accounts which have an overdraft facility so that neither of you can raise debt for which the other person could be jointly liable
  • Make sure you update your will post separation or divorce
  • If you and your spouse own any property jointly, you will need to check exactly how you own it as this will affect what happens to your share in the property on your death
  • Do not remarry before you have resolved the finances
  • Do not sign any documents in relation to the separation or divorce without first obtaining legal advice

Get in touch with our friendly and experienced divorce and separation solicitors in East Sussex

For advice about divorce or separation, including advice about making a financial agreement or arrangements for children, contact your local Heringtons office in Battle, Bexhill on Sea, Eastbourne, Hastings or Rye.

Or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly.

For further information or to speak to one of our experts please call us on: