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Divorce & separation

We recognise that relationship breakdown and a decision to divorce is likely to be one of the most stressful life events that an individual will face. Dealing with practical and financial arrangements in the midst of emotional trauma may often seem insurmountable but our team of experienced lawyers can guide you through the legal process in a sympathetic, supportive and, above all, objective manner to achieve the best possible outcome for you. 

"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

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 their discretion and skill in managing unwanted media attention. Our in-house reputation management team enables us to deal with media attention swiftly and effectively.

We are sensitive to the highly 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 and work with trusted lawyers and other advisers in many different jurisdictions.  Our Head of Department, Rebecca Cockcroft is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and, as a department; we frequently work with IAFL lawyers in overseas  jurisdictions. 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.”

Yes.  It is open to either party to file an application for divorce.  Since 6 April 2022 it is also possible for a couple who are in agreement to file the application on a joint basis.

In England the sole ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  Prior to the advent of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which came into force on 6 April 2022 it was necessary to rely on one of five facts to evidence that the marriage had broken down (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation.)  Since 6 April 2022 the single basis on which a divorce may be granted is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  A statement to that effect will suffice and there is no longer any requirement to provide evidence.

Very rarely.  It will usually make no difference if you are the applicant or your spouse applies or you make a joint application.  However, if there is more than one jurisdiction where the divorce might take place then it may be a consideration.

It is no longer possible to defend a divorce application.  The only grounds upon which a divorce or dissolution may be disputed are if a challenge is made to the validity or subsistence of the marriage/ civil partnership or if a challenge is made to the jurisdiction of the court to hear the application.

Once an application for divorce has been made, there will then be a minimum twenty-week “cooling off” period before the applicant(s) can apply to the court for a conditional order of divorce.  This period is designed to give the parties a period of reflection and to endeavour to resolve issues around children and money.  It is anticipated that the minimum period to obtain a divorce will be 26 weeks.

No.  There is usually no need for either party to attend court.

Until a Final Order of divorce is granted by the court the marriage subsists.  Up until that point it is possible to invite the court to dismiss the divorce application.

"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