Accredited Divorce Law Solicitors in Essex

What is Divorce?

In England (and Wales) divorce is a legal process that will end your marriage.

As of 6th April 2022 the Law relating to Divorce was changed with the No Fault Divorce being introduced. The previous position was that the Applicant had to demonstrate that the marriage had irretrievably broken down by relying upon 1 of 5 facts. Those facts being:-

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. 2 years separation with consent
  5. 5 years separation without consent

From the 6th April 2022 it will no longer be required to rely on 1 of the 5 facts. The No Fault Divorce attempts to encourage a more conciliatory approach to Divorce thus avoiding further acrimony between the parties.

The Divorce Process

The ground for the Divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Under the new Divorce Law, both spouses can jointly apply to the Court for a Divorce. Alternatively, one spouse can be the sole applicant in the event that the other spouse does not agree. Neither party is required to blame the other party for the reason for the Divorce, instead, it is sufficient for one party to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Under the new Legislation, the other party can no longer contest the Divorce.

Once the Divorce Application has been made, the applicant will have to wait a minimum of 20 weeks until they can apply for the Conditional Order (formally called the Decree Nisi). Following the Conditional Order being granted both parties will have to wait a further 6 week period before either party can apply for the Final Order (formally called the Decree Absolute) which formally dissolves the marriage.


More In Our Divorce Section

On this page:

Divorce and Separation Law. Can I Get a Divorce?

In England and Wales you can apply for a divorce if you’ve been married for one year or longer.

You will also need to show the court that:

  • The marriage has irretrievably broken down
  • The marriage is legally recognised in the UK
  • You or your partner permanently live or are domiciled in the UK

You will need to consider how any matrimonial assets and finances are split and agree arrangements on how any children are cared for in the future, including where they live and the time spent with each parent.

English courts do have some jurisdiction over foreign marriages, depending on the married couple’s connection to the UK, for example, if you or your spouse lives in the UK.

English law does not recognise all religious marriages and a religious divorce is not the same as a legal divorce.

It is essential to obtain legal advice, especially if you or your spouse have any connection with another Country. It may be that it would be more beneficial for you to obtain a Divorce in that Country. This should be raised with a Solicitor early.

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What are the Grounds for Divorce?

To get a divorce you will have to show a court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you will need to support this using one of five statements of fact.

It’s different for same sex marriages and same sex civil partnerships.


If your spouse had voluntary sexual intercourse with a person who was not their spouse.

If you lived together as a couple for more than 6 months after you found out, you cannot choose adultery as a reason for divorce.

Unreasonable Behaviour

If your spouse has behaved in a manner that means you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. There is not a definitive list of what constitutes ‘unreasonable behaviour’ but common examples include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal or psychological abuse
  • Not contributing towards shared living expenses
  • Social isolation
  • Drunkenness

If your spouse has left you for two years before the divorce application. You would need to show it was without good reason and without your consent.

You can have lived together for up to six months during the two years, but any period of living together will not count towards the two years.

At Least Two Years Continuous Separation

If you’ve been separated for at least 2 years, and you both agree (in writing), you can apply for a divorce.

Even if you lived together it’s possible to show you were still separated, as long as you were not living together as a couple.

At Least Five Years Continuous Separation

If you’ve been separated for at least 5 years you can apply for a divorce. Your spouse won’t need to agree to the divorce.

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Give us a call today for a FREE initial chat with one of our legal experts.

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Divorce – Same Sex Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Formally ending same sex marriages, particularly where there are children involved, can be complex. The BTMK team has both experience and expertise to advise you on the right course of action.

A same sex marriage and a same sex civil partnership are different, but when you decide to end the relationship the process is very similar.

As with opposite sex marriages, you will need to show the marriage has broken down. However, a same sex couple seeking a divorce cannot file on grounds of ‘adultery’.

Making a Financial Agreement

The ongoing financial arrangements and division of matrimonial assets play an essential part in a separation or divorce. And unfortunately, finances (and children) often cause the most animosity throughout the whole divorce process. You will need to consider:

  • The division of the matrimonial home (or who will live there)
  • The division of jointly owned or solely owned assets and pensions
  • Ongoing financial support, for either a spouse and/or children

The team at BTMK deal with some of the most financially complex divorce cases and can provide expert legal advice and support to help you arrive at the most cost effective and amicable result possible.

Making Child Arrangements

When a relationship breaks down, the separating parties may need to make arrangements for the care of any children. It’s an area that often causes the strongest emotions between separating couples.

Sometimes these are mutually agreed between the parents and sometimes coming to an agreement is more challenging and you need to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order.

If children are part of your divorce or separation, it’s best to get advice on your legal rights.

What Role Do Divorce Solicitors Play?

The breakdown of a marriage is often a stressful and emotional time.

During the process you will need to make important decisions about finances, your assets and any child custody arrangements.

But it’s crucial that your legal rights are properly protected. This means getting good legal advice.

When you petition for or respond to a divorce you need the right legal advice from a specialist. Our years of experience means you get clear and practical advice throughout and BTMK is Family Law accredited by The Law Society.

Family matters can create tensions that escalate quickly and our solicitors understand this. But we’ll help you get the best possible outcome without causing unnecessary disputes.

BTMK solicitors help you through the process, including:

  • Drafting or receiving a divorce petition
  • Acknowledgement of Service
  • Certificate of entitlement
  • Decree Nisi
  • Decree Absolute
  • Costs awards
  • Financial arrangements
  • Child maintenance


How Long Does Divorce Take?

The length of divorce depends on a few factors such as whether a respondent defends or even responds to a divorce petition. We also advise that you arrange all financial matters before applying for Decree Absolute. If there is a backlog of cases at court, this may also affect the amount of time a divorce takes.

A straightforward divorce might typically take from four to six months. Once your Decree Nisi is agreed in court, you are legally required to wait six weeks and a day before you can apply for the Decree Absolute.

How Much Does Divorce Cost?

The costs associated with obtaining a divorce are comprised of solicitor’s fees and court fees. The solicitor’s fees will be dependent on your case. A complex case will take more time than a straightforward divorce, therefore costs are likely to be higher.

There will also be costs around making the financial settlement.

To submit divorce papers to the court, the current court fee is £593 and submitting a Financial Consent Order for approval will cost £53. To request a Financial Remedy Order (where the court has to adjudicate where parties cannot agree) the current fee is £275 as well as legal fees.

If you need to go to court over your finances or children it’s likely you will have attended or attempted an initial mediation session to discuss the financial split.

How Do Financial Arrangements Work in a Divorce?

The document that legally ends a marriage is called a Decree Absolute. It ends the marriage but does not sever the financial ties you have with your ex. The financial commitment made when you married or formed a civil partnership remains in place until a court approves a financial consent or financial remedy order.

It’s common for couples to start the divorce process and deal with the financial arrangements at the same time so that these are in place before the Decree Absolute is issued.

To achieve a financial ‘clean break’ from an ex-spouse a court will need to agree that the split is fair on both parties.

If you cannot agree, you can apply to court for adjudication.

What Happens if My Spouse Won’t Agree to a Divorce?

In most divorce cases in England and Wales both partners agree to divorce and the respondent won’t defend it. This is known as uncontested, or undefended, divorce.

Your spouse may choose to defend the divorce, perhaps by arguing the marriage hasn’t irretrievably broken down, or by simply not responding. In this case you’ll need an experienced solicitor, who can review the circumstances around the grounds for divorce and take the appropriate action.

For example, you may need to re-serve the papers and prove to the court that your ex has received them and chosen not to respond.
Another option is to wait for five years of separation. If you choose this fact to support your divorce, your ex is not required to agree to it.

Defending a divorce is often time consuming and is very rarely successful.


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What our clients say

Great experience friendly professional and sensible advice. Would totally recommend Jaime and her team

Thank you

- Bob

Thank you so much for helping me though what has been a very tricky time.

Your sage wisdom and calm has been a god send. I literally could not have done with out you. Big heartfelt thanks.

- –

It’s my first time when I use a solicitor, and Jaime she was great! I appreciate her time and effort to explain everything to me!

I’ve never needed to use a solicitor before and from being under loads of stress I decided to go to one for some legal help. I’m so glad I chose BTMK. They were extremely friendly and helpful and made sure I understood everything to get the best outcome needed that also met what I wanted.

I had a serious family matter that needed dealing with , I got put in contact with Jamie lee johns, and she was amazing .. always at the end of the phone willing to help , she put everything In understandable terms and always done her up most to help … she was so knowledgeable

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Facing the prospect of Divorce and having no real idea of how to navigate the legal side of things I am very happy to recommend BTMK.

At a time of intense personal stress the team worked with me with such clarity that I was able to make clear and concise decisions on what is a life changing event based upon their knowledge and expertise.

My future and that of my children’s is all the better and secure for using such a professional service.

- –

Lee really provided some clarity at what was a very difficult time and gave me the appropriate advice and support to help me with my divorce and making sure I protected my own interest in my assets. Lee was on hand whenever I needed his advice and was very helpful. He certainly made the whole process a lot smoother and have since recommended him to other people in a similar situation.

- –

Jaime-Lee has been amazing. She has been very supportive and she has been able to advise me every step of the way during a difficult period. She’s always there when I need her, whether by email or telephone call. I would highly recommend her. Thank you for all your advice and hard work Jaime!

- Ms F

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