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Separation and Divorce Solicitors

Taking the decision to end a relationship is an emotionally testing time for everyone involved. Our friendly and approachable separation and divorce solicitors are here to share the burden with you so that you can begin the process of rebuilding your life as soon as possible.

At Whiskers Solicitors, we provide sensitive, practical guidance and support to individuals and families going through relationship breakdown and separation across Harlow and Epping in Essex and Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire.

We sincerely understand the pressures you are likely to be facing. Our dedicated family team can assist with every aspect of the divorce and separation process, providing detailed advice and support about vital issues such as:

  • Where you will live
  • How immediate matters such as payment of joint bills and debts will be taken care of
  • How your children will split their time between you and your former partner
  • How your money and assets will be divided
  • Whether you need a Child Maintenance and/or Spousal Maintenance Agreement to help you or your ex-partner pay for living expenses

Our goal is to help you resolve these matters, and any other issues that arise, swiftly, cost-effectively and constructively. Although the word “divorce” often conjures up images of bleak courtrooms and strict judges, it is actually unlikely you will need go to court. If you and your partner can come to a divorce settlement between yourselves, there will be no need to involve the court other than to formalise your agreement.

For further information or to set up an initial appointment with one of our separation and divorce solicitors, please get in touch with:

How our separation and divorce solicitors can help you

When you and your former partner have been together for years, or even decades, learning to live apart can be scary. However, our belief is that the divorce and separation process does not need to be as stressful as most people assume it will be.

We can help with all types of relationship breakdown proceedings, including:

  • Divorce
  • Civil partnership dissolution
  • Separation Agreements (also known as Deeds of Separation)
  • Judicial Separation
  • Annulment

As well as handling the formal, administrative aspects of separation proceedings, such as filing or responding to a divorce petition, we can also help with all other aspects of divorce and separation, including:

  • Financial settlements
  • Arrangements for children
  • Separation for unmarried, cohabiting couples

Wherever you feel it might help, we can help you access methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as family mediation to talk through separation issues in a neutral, co-operative environment under the guidance of a qualified mediator.

The divorce process

The divorce process happens in several stages:

  • One or both partners must petition to their local court for a divorce. Currently you must include one or more “reasons” on your petition to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. These reasons are:
    • Unreasonable behaviour
    • Adultery
    • Desertion for two years (where one partner “abandons” the other)
    • Separation for two years (where both partners consent to the divorce)
    • Separation for five years (no consent needed)
  • The court will serve a copy of your divorce petition on your ex-partner who has eight days to respond
  • In most cases, the petitioned partner will accept the petition but if they do not agree to the divorce or your reasons, they may defend the petition
  • If the petition is undefended, the court will issue a decree nicithis does not legally end your marriage but shows that the court agrees to the divorce
  • After 43 days, you can apply for a decree absolute – this is the legal document which legally ends your marriage

The process for civil partnership dissolution is similar, except you cannot rely on the reason of adultery to prove irretrievable breakdown.

Financial settlements

In the vast majority of cases, we are able to help clients come to a voluntary agreement about the arrangement of finances. As well as immediate matters, such as who gets to stay in the family home, we can help you discuss the division of assets, including:

  • Other properties you own, such as holiday homes or buy-to-lets
  • Savings and investments
  • Pension entitlements
  • Family businesses

We can help you aim for a clean-break divorce if possible to sever your financial obligations to your ex-partner. This means once your divorce is finalised and your agreement made, your ex-partner cannot take you back to court to make further financial claims (and vice versa).

However, wherever appropriate, we can also help you arrange Child Maintenance Agreements and Spousal Maintenance Agreements.

For further information, please visit our Divorce Financial Settlements page.

Arrangements for children

Making decisions about your children is often the most contentious issue for separating couples and we understand their welfare and happiness is absolutely essential. We will keep your children’s best interests at heart at all times while we help you negotiate an agreement on matters such as:

  • Where your children will live
  • How much time they will spend with each parent
  • Where they will go to school and other important questions about upbringing
  • Whether they should change their surnames
  • Child maintenance

For further information, please visit our Child Law Solicitors page.

Separation for unmarried, cohabiting couples

Unmarried couples do not have the same rights after separating as married couples or civil partners. For example, an unmarried partner has no right to claim a share of the other’s assets. This is even the case if you have lived together for many years – contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “common law marriage”.

If you are separating from your partner but you are not married, we can provide practical advice about your legal rights and options in relation to a range of issues, including finances, housing and children. For more information, please visit our Cohabitation Solicitors page.

Why choose our divorce solicitors?

We are a firm of highly skilled lawyers with a dedicated family law team based in Harlow and Epping, Essex and Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Here are just a few of the reasons our clients choose to instruct us

  • Quick, cost-effective divorce petitions – we know that the process of divorce or separation is unpleasant, however cooperative your ex-partner is. We hope to take the strain off your shoulders as much as possible by providing a fast, proactive service. We will make each application at the earliest opportunity so there are no unnecessary delays in getting your decree absolute. We are happy to offer flexible fixed fees for the vast majority of our divorce and separation matters so you can easily keep on top of your legal fees.
  • Bespoke service – your life and relationship is unique so we don’t take a standardised approach to divorce and separation cases. We will take the time to get to know you and the outcome you would like to achieve so we can help you negotiate a strong, long-lasting divorce settlement.
  • Professional expertise – We are members of the Law Society Family Law and Children Law Accreditation schemes for the high quality of our advice and customer service. Amongst our talented team, Reza Sabzevari and Shalini Subherwal are accredited family law specialists and Reza is an accredited children’s representative.
  • Dedication to constructive family law solutions Reza and Shalini are also members of Resolution, an organisation which promotes the non-combative resolution of family law matters. Wherever possible, we will help you settle your divorce and separation matter amicably without going to court, saving you lots of time, expense and stress.
  • Inclusive, welcoming environment – we believe in making our legal services as accessible as possible, regardless of personal circumstances. So, if you have any disabilities or individual needs, please do not hesitate to get in touch for a confidential conversation with a member of our team.

Get in touch with our separation and divorce solicitors in Harlow, Epping and Bishop’s Stortford

For further information or to set up an initial appointment with one of our separation and divorce solicitors, please get in touch with: