Payne Hicks Beach

Payne Hicks Beach

Divorce & Separation

"Payne Hicks Beach are arguably the strongest family law firm in the country, providing enviable strength in depth in both financial and private children law areas" Chambers UK

"The best legal team money can buy. Unbelievably thorough, first-class litigators, highly respected in the field. Supremely well connected internationally and ideally placed to help in cases involving multi-jurisdictional issues"The Legal 500 UK

Whether advising on a divorce, separation or on the dissolution of a civil partnership we recognise and understand the level of stress and emotional trauma that accompanies the breakdown of a relationship. Our approach is to advise and assist in a sympathetic, supportive and, above all, objective manner to achieve the best result for you. 

Our best-in-class divorce lawyers act for and against a wide variety of individuals including celebrities, members of royal families, aristocrats, entrepreneurs, sports and entertainment stars, business owners and city professionals. Our divorce lawyers are regularly involved in high profile cases at all levels and are well known for our discretion and skill at managing unwanted media attention.

We are sensitive to the very personal issues involved and are able to recommend suitably qualified professional counsellors and mediators, where appropriate. We frequently deal with international aspects of divorce and separation. Seeking our advice promptly is often vital to secure the best choice of jurisdiction.

With a top ranked Payne Hicks Beach divorce specialist on your side, you can be confident in having one of the best solicitors in the UK looking after your interests. 

The family team at Payne Hicks Beach is ranked in Chambers HNW 2021. Quotes include, "they have such a super team of lawyers that are real experts in their field” and "they're really dynamic and energetic." With another source highlighting the quality of the family team: "their family law team is excellent...they are extremely dedicated, extremely hard-working and very results-focused."


Divorce: Your questions answered

  • Can either party file for divorce?
    • Yes.  Provided that you have been married for a period of at least one year and are able to satisfy the necessary criteria for divorce then either party can apply for a divorce.

  • What are the grounds for filing for a divorce?
    • In England the sole ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  However, under the current law this has to be supported by reliance on one of five facts:-

      a) Adultery;

      b) That your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them;

      c) Desertion;

      d) Separation for a period of two years and both parties consent to a divorce; or

      e) Separation for a period of five years – no consent required.

      From 6 April 2022 it will no longer be necessary to rely on one of the five facts to secure a divorce.  It will be enough for one or both parties to make a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

  • Does it make a difference if I petition for divorce or am the respondent to a petition?
    • Very rarely.  In the vast majority of cases it makes no difference if you are the petitioner or the respondent.

  • What is no fault divorce?
    • Family lawyers have complained for a long time that the current system which essentially requires one party to “blame” the other party for the marriage breaking down is unhelpful and causes unnecessary conflict and acrimony.  The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill sought to remove the fault element and has received Royal assent:  

      From 6 April 2022 it will no longer be necessary to rely on one of the five facts to secure a divorce.  It will be enough for one or both parties to make a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

  • Can people see what I have written in my divorce petition?
    • No. The divorce petition will not be available to members of the public.  The pronouncement of decree nisi takes place in open court but will only refer to the fact relied on and not the specific contents of the petition.

  • How long will it take to get a divorce?
    • The length of time it will take to get a divorce will depend upon whether you and your spouse can agree on the divorce, whether your spouse completes the paperwork quickly and whether you need to wait to finalise your divorce to complete the financial settlement between you.  It is possible to complete the divorce process in around 4-6 months if both parties agree.  However, you may be advised by your lawyers not to apply for the final decree of divorce if you have been unable to reach a financial settlement. This is usually because on a grant of Decree Absolute (finally ending the marriage) you will no longer have certain rights under some pension schemes and insurance policies and it is important not to lose these rights until a financial resolution has been reached.

  • Will I have to go to court?
    • Unless you or your spouse is contesting the divorce (which is very rare) there is usually no need for either party to attend court.

  • What happens if I change my mind?
    • Until Decree Absolute is granted by the court the marriage subsists.  Up until that point it is possible to invite the court to dismiss the petition.















SHORTLISTED: Family Law Firm of the Year


Back to Family