When marriages and civil partnerships break down there are bound to be profound emotional and financial consequences for you and your family.

At a time when you are under immense personal pressure, our sensitive and experienced specialists provide focus, attention to detail and a high level of service. They will discuss complex legal issues in a straightforward manner and provide clear, succinct advice for the best outcome for you.

How can I get a divorce?

To be able to get a divorce you must be able to show

(1) that you have been married for at least twelve months and

(2) that your marriage has broken down irretrievably

In order to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, you must establish at least one of the following five facts:

Adultery is very specifically defined by the law as sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse.

If you wish to divorce your husband or wife on the basis of his or her adultery you should consider that, unless they are prepared to admit to the adultery, it can be extremely difficult to prove.

If your spouse is living with their new partner and/or a child has been conceived in that relationship, it is likely that this will be considered sufficient evidence to prove adultery. However, if you have lived with you spouse for over six months since you became aware of the adultery, you can no longer rely upon it. In these circumstances you may wish to consider basing your divorce on an alternative fact, such as unreasonable behaviour (see below).

Unreasonable Behaviour
You must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court, that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can no longer be reasonably expected to live with them.

There are some types of behaviour such as domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse that are obvious examples of unreasonable behaviour. But it is also possible to rely on other types of behaviour such as spending long hours at work or away from the home, refusing to engage in normal family life or to assist in the running of the home or care of the children. The list is endless. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to demonstrate that the behaviour would be consider unreasonable by everyone, but that the behaviour is unreasonable to you and that your marriage has irretrievably broken down as a result of it.

Our specialist team will help you to strike a balance between providing sufficient information to demonstrate that the behaviour was unreasonable and avoiding potentially inflammatory allegations that could increase family conflict now or in the future.

Two years separation with consent
You must demonstrate that you have been separated from your husband or wife for at least two years and that your spouse consents to your application for a divorce.

With the right advice from our specialist team, it is sometimes possible to show the court that you meet this criteria, even if you have been living in the same house as your husband or wife for some or all of that two year period.

Five years separation without consent
You must demonstrate that you have been living apart from your husband or wife for at least five years and it is not necessary for your spouse to consent to your divorce petition in these circumstances.

Once this five year separation has been established, the only reason your divorce may not be granted, is if your spouse could demonstrate that to do so would cause them “grave financial hardship”. Our specialist team of lawyers and can also advise you on the financial side of your divorce and with the right advice you can prevent the defence of grave financial hardship from being successful.

In order to proceed on the basis of desertion, you must be able to show that your spouse has left you for at least two years and that you do not accept that they have gone.

An example of desertion would be where your husband or wife has disappeared.

Once you do acknowledge that they have left you and start to plan your future, you are no longer able to rely upon desertion.

Why go to Birchall Blackburn Law?

The decision to divorce can be a difficult and emotional one that has a huge impact on you and your family. So it is important that you choose a divorce lawyer who will listen to you with sympathy and who has a deep understanding of your particular concerns.

Our specialist family law team will deal with you with compassion and sensitivity and will guide you through this complicated and stressful process. Their many years of experience will try and minimise conflict where possible, without losing sight of your need to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.

How much does a divorce cost?

The cost varies depending on what is involved and the work required. We offer a one hour fixed fee initial appointment during which we will assess your circumstances. We will then explain the costs involved and give you information about the funding options available to you.

If you choose to fund the work privately, we may be able to offer a fixed fee service for relatively straightforward matters. In more complicated cases, we offer flexible payment arrangements and will always provide a detailed cost estimate in writing at the outset. We will update you regularly and help you to budget.

Other family services

Other services on our website that may be of interest include: