Experienced Divorce Lawyers and Solicitors in Dorset
If you are thinking about a divorce, you are not alone. It can be a very difficult and emotional time for all those concerned, which is why your choice of divorce lawyer is very important. At Harold G Walker Solicitors our Family Solicitors and Lawyers in Dorset are experienced in dealing with divorcing couples, as well as all the issues that arise from separation. Our Divorce Lawyers work with clients across Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas to helping them find the best possible solutions to their marriage breakdown. We use a collaborative approach aiming to minimise the conflict that invariably arises throughout the Divorce process.
To understand your options we offer a FREE initial 30 minute no-obligation appointment, so you can discuss your situation and concerns with one of our Divorce Lawyers. They will provide you with an overview of the process and answer any questions or worries you may have. It will be very helpful if you could bring:
- Identity documents: passport/driving licence and utility bill stating name and address
- Information about your finances – joint and individual
- Pen and paper to write down notes from the meeting
- List of specific concerns that you have
For further information please contact a member of our Family team.
Before beginning the process of divorce it is important that you are aware of all various options available to you from the outset. This way, you can choose the right way forward for you and your own situation. The options are set out below:
It is important to consider the possibility of reconciliation. We can discuss this with you and put you in touch with recommended specialists and counsellors who can provide counselling, both for individuals and couples.
This is where you come to an agreement yourselves by talking to each other directly. Even when you are both happy with the outcome, it is vital that you instruct a solicitor to explain the agreement once agreed. The solicitor can take steps to make the agreement legally binding for you.
You can seek the assistance of a third person to help you communicate and reach an agreement. The mediator is unable to give legal advice, but can help you communicate and reach a fair settlement.
This involves a series of open discussions with yourselves and Solicitors present to reach a resolution with a commitment not to use the Court process. All our Family Solicitors are able to provide this service and once an agreement is reached, we can take the steps to make the agreement legally binding for you.
Instructing a solicitor to pursue an out-of-court agreement which would be determined by the Arbitrator.
Going to Court
Instructing a solicitor to deal with proceedings at Court where a Judge will make a final decision.
Each of the options is right for different circumstances – at Harold G Walker, we can explain the different approaches in detail for you and apply it to your own personal circumstances. You will then be in a position to make a well-informed decision as to the way forward.
The Divorce Process
Appoint a solicitor to represent you. Discuss the grounds for divorce with your solicitor and desired arrangements for any children. Your solicitor will then send the Divorce Petition to court (with a Statement of Arrangements form, if children are involved), together with the marriage certificate and court fee. You will be required to state on the Petition the grounds on which the marriage has irretrievably broken down, which can be either:
- Adultery by the other spouse
- Unreasonable behaviour by the other spouse
- Two years’ separation with the consent of the other spouse
- Five years’ separation (no requirement for the consent of the other spouse)
- Desertion by the other spouse
The court will register the case and post the papers to your spouse (known as “the Respondent”) or their solicitors, with an “Acknowledgement of Service” form.
Your spouse (the “Respondent”), or their solicitors, will complete the Acknowledgement of Service form, stating that the Petition will not be defended and send it back to the court. If the divorce is defended (which is rare), a full hearing in court will be required, with both parties in attendance.
The court sends the Acknowledgement of Service form to your solicitors.
Your solicitor drafts a statement in support of the application for Decree Nisi, which is then sent to the court.
The District Judge looks at the papers and decides whether to grant Decree Nisi and, if there are children involved, whether to issue a statement declaring the Judge is happy with the proposed arrangements for their care.
If the Judge decides to grant the Decree Nisi, both parties are informed that it will be read out in court on a certain date and time (but the parties do not need to attend).
A copy of the Decree Nisi is sent to both parties.
Six weeks and one day later, you can apply (with a fee) for the Decree Absolute.
The Decree Absolute is sent to both you and your spouse.
Divorce & Finance
The Decree Absolute officially ends the marriage between the parties, but it does not dismiss the potential financial claims that they have against each other or sort out where the parties are going to live. This obviously needs to be dealt with. Decisions have to be made on property, pensions and maintenance issues. This can include whether or not the property will be sold and if not, who is going to live in it and whether or not maintenance will be paid to one of the parties, for them and/or the children.
Both you and your spouse must disclose your income and assets to each other. This ensures that everything is taken into account and nothing is concealed. Once agreement is reached regarding the financial division and any future arrangements, the solicitors draft a Consent Order, which is signed by both you and your spouse, and sent to the court for the District Judge to approve.
If a figure for child maintenance cannot be agreed, then it will be necessary to apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for an assessment.
Resolving Financial disputes like this can be complicated, our experienced Family team will advise you and explain your options clearly.
Divorce & Children
Where children are involved, hopefully an agreement can be reached between the parents. The agreement would include, for example, who the children are to live with and what the arrangements are for contact with the other parent.
However, should the parents not agree on these arrangements, or should the court have concerns about the children’s welfare, then the court will need to become involved. This may involve one or both parents applying for an Order that the children live with them (a Residence Order) or have contact with them (a Contact Order).
Fixed Price Divorce Package
All our clients receive a FREE initial 30 minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation. We also offer a fixed price divorce package both for the Petitioner and Respondent.
Petitioner – £1350 (Includes VAT and Court fees)
Respondent – £360 (Includes VAT)