Divorce Process

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On the breakdown of a marriage we will guide you through the divorce process, financial arrangements and any issues relating to your children.

The only ground for divorce in England and Wales is that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably”.  When applying for a divorce, you must “prove” this irretrievable breakdown with evidence of one of the five following facts:

  • Adultery - following which you find it intolerable to live with your partner;
  • Behaviour - following which you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your partner;
  • Two years’ separation and your partner consents to the petition on this basis;
  • Five years’ separation (no consent is needed); or
  • Desertion.

The mechanics of obtaining a divorce are usually quite straightforward, particularly if you both agree that the marriage or civil partnership is over. Difficulties tend to arise resolving the practical issues such as the manner and timing of the physical separation, the arrangements for children and finances.

There is a myth that we have “no fault” divorce in England.  Unless you have been separated for at least two years, fault has to feature in a divorce petition. The only way to start divorce proceedings immediately is to base your petition on one of the two fault-based grounds, either adultery or behaviour.

Another myth is the “quickie” divorce.  Even an adultery or behaviour petition can take up to 6 months and decree absolute (the final order of divorce) is often delayed until after all financial issues have been resolved.  We will guide you through the process, timescales and costs involved. 

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Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession


If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

"They made a very difficult time much easier to deal with. Their professionalism kept me sane and focused on the outcome I needed"


"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"


"Rolls-Royce service and particularly good when there's a European element to the case"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

Divorce Process Insights

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Out of court - Jane Keir shares her views on remote justice in Spear's Magazine

Valuing your business for divorce proceedings during the uncertainty of COVID - Connie Atkinson writes for Business Matters

Lawyer in the news - Jane Keir featured in The Law Society Gazette

When solicitors divorce - Connie Atkinson writes for The Law Society Gazette

Everything you need to know before getting a divorce - Jane Keir quoted in Good Housekeeping

How to have a happy divorce according to the UK’s top lawyers – Connie Atkinson shares her advice in The Sunday Times

Divorce Day - Jane Keir comments in Mail on Sunday’s This is Money section about ways to reduce the costs of a marriage break-up

Wives are the losers as Brexit derails the Eurostar divorce dash - Stacey Nevin quoted in The Times

Managing divorce in the shadow of criminal proceedings - Alexandra Bishop and Nick Dent write for The Review

Jane Keir ranked in Citywealth's top 10 Family & Matrimonial Lawyers

Wife loses fight for right to divorce

Stacey Nevin comments on landmark Supreme Court judgment

Lawyer in the news: Connie Atkinson featured in Law Society Gazette

Court ruling deals another blow to "meal ticket for life" - Charlotte Bradley writes for WealthBriefing

Russell Crowe’s divorce auction shows why ‘stuff’ matters - Michael Rowlands writes for Spear's

Sital Fontenelle joins Kingsley Napley's Family & Divorce team

Rachel Freeman joins Kingsley Napley's family & divorce team

Local family lawyers travel to Parliament to call for No Fault Divorce

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Brexit report on justice for families, individuals and businesses – the family law challenges ahead

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