Guide to Divorce & Separation

There are many reasons why someone may feel their marriage has broken down.  If you have received a Divorce Petition or are looking to start the Divorce process yourself, the Family Team at Hodge Halsall can help you.

You must have been married for at least a year before you can commence Divorce Proceedings.  You also have to show that your relationship with your spouse has irretrievably broken down as this is the only ground for Divorce in English Law. We have welcomed a no-fault divorce process since 6 April 2022 which allows you to commence divorce proceedings in an amicable way either by making a joint or sole application to Court.

The main stages to the process at the time of writing this article are the same as those which apply to civil partnership dissolution and are usually as follows:

  1. Issue a divorce petition at Court and serve the papers within 28 days;
  2. The Respondent of sole rather than joint applications to file an Acknowledgement of Service document within 14 days;
  3. The Applicant(s) to subsequently apply to Court for an order for the first stage of Divorce, known as a conditional order, no earlier than 20 weeks after issue of the  divorce petition;
  4. The Applicant(s) thereafter to apply to Court for a final order which formally dissolves the marriage once it is an appropriate time to do so and you should seek legal advice first about when to make the application in your case.  This final application can be made no earlier than 26 weeks after issue of the divorce petition.

Our Family Team can advise you in relation to the finances on Divorce, to include the full options in relation to the family home, possible spousal maintenance and pension sharing claims. 

If you wish to change your surname as a result of the marriage breakdown, we also offer a Change of Name service under a fixed fee package.

No case is ever the same and the process and amount of assistance you request can vary.  We therefore offer a number of packages also in relation to the Divorce Proceedings, each within a fixed price, so that you can obtain legal assistance with the guarantee you know exactly what you need to pay.  These costs do not include any legal costs in relation to the finances on divorce and any issues in relation to children.

Type of Divorce  Advice Included  Cost
Simple Divorce30 minutes consultationAssistance completing the Petition  £255.00 plus VAT
Managed DivorceInitial 30 minutes consultationWe complete the Divorce Petition and subsequent Divorce Applications for you in the Divorce processWe send the above documentation to Court on your behalf when requiredWe deal with the correspondence to and from the Court on your behalfSecond further meeting, if necessary (limited to advice in relation to the Divorce process)£599.00 plus VAT plus Court disbursements
BespokeIf your Divorce is complicated, for instance it involves international issues or you are unaware of your spouse’s address or they wish to contest the divorce, one of our fixed packages may not be suitable for you.  Our team would discuss this with you at the outset of the case.  In such circumstances, we offer a bespoke service where we agree an hourly rate and update you as to costs at regular intervals so you know exactly what your costs of the Divorce process will be.   Included:   Initial consultationFixed hourly rateUnlimited access to your SolicitorWe prepare all the necessary Court documents and correspond with the Court and your spouse’s Solicitor as necessaryIf required, we attend Court on your behalfAgreed hourly rate plus VAT and disbursements
RespondentHave you been served with a Divorce Petition and are unsure as to how to proceed and need some assistance? Included: Initial consultation with SolicitorAdvice as to your optionsAssistance completing the appropriate Court paperwork as a Respondent  £255 plus VAT

For more information about anything mentioned above or how to move forward with your Divorce or Dissolution, call our Family Dept, who will explain the next steps.

Solicitor – Helen Jacobs  (

Paralegal – Natalie Maher (

Telephone – 01704 531991