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Divorce, Dissolution of a Civil Partnership and Separation

Sadly, thousands of marriages end in divorce or the breakdown of a civil partnership each year across the United Kingdom. Nobody starts a marriage or civil partnership thinking about divorce or separation. If you are currently going through a divorce or the dissolution of your civil partnership you are not alone. Divorce or separation is a personal decision and only you can decide what is right for you and your family.

Our Approach 

At Branch Austin we will listen, offer you the utmost discretion and use our expert knowledge to help you make informed decisions. We can advise on the complexities of a divorce, ending a civil partnership, annulment or separation and ensure that you make the right decision for you. Take advantage of our free telephone enquiry to talk through your options. We will explain how we can help. You will find our divorce lawyers friendly, approachable and knowledgeable

Our Clients

We have a large base of national and international clients. We represent clients who are not only UK-based but also clients who live abroad but wish to use the English legal system to pursue a divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership.

Legal Separation

Not all couples who separate will want a divorce. Some will prefer a legal separation instead – this may be appropriate where a divorce would not be palatable for religious reasons. 

A legal separation (sometimes called a judicial separation) allows a couple to live apart without divorcing or ending a civil partnership. However, like a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, a legal separation means that the court may exercise its power to divide your financial assets (except for pensions). This may be particularly suited to an older couple who want to preserve the pension provision between them. 

Separation Agreement

If you have not yet decided whether you want to end your marriage or civil partnership, you can enter into a separation agreement instead. This is a written agreement that can cover a range of areas such as what happens to the family home and who continues to live there, who pays the mortgage and other outgoings and what the arrangements for the children should be.  

You can have a separation agreement recording the terms of your financial arrangements where you have separated but have not yet taken divorce proceedings or started off the process of ending your civil partnership.  Be warned that such financial arrangements will be considered by a Court if and when you seek a financial order from the Court. 

Grounds For Divorce or Ending A Civil Partnership

In England and Wales to obtain a divorce or end a civil partnership you must show that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down “. You cannot end your marriage or civil partnership within the first year.

You will also need to state on your divorce or dissolution petition the grounds for your divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership which must be one of the following “facts”:

  • Unreasonable behaviour – This is behaviour because of which you can no longer bear to live with your spouse. This can include abuse, manipulation, a refusal to share household tasks or contribute to household expenses.
  • Adultery – this would apply where your spouse had engaged in a sexual relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Adultery does not apply to the dissolution of a civil partnership.
  • Separation for two years – you must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least two years to use this ground and your spouse must agree in writing to the divorce.
  • Separation for five years – you must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for five years. The consent of your spouse is not required.
  • Desertion – You may be able to use this ground if your spouse left you without your agreement and without good reason and your spouse has been absent for at least two years.

The Annulment Option

If you are married a divorce is not always the only option open to you. The other option to consider is annulment. This applies in very specific circumstances and includes cases where the marriage was not legally valid because one of the parties to the marriage was already married or underage. Other circumstances include marriages which were never consummated, or which were entered into under duress.

Key Contacts
  • 'I have used BA (previously LSGA) for many years for a variety of issues. In particular, I have recently used the Conveyancing services of Rashida Zakir and she has been excellent in all respects. Efficient, quick (one completion from identification in 3.5 weeks!) responsive, helpful and always executes!'

    Franco Cassar
  • 'I have sought assistance from Branch Austin (previously LSG and LSGA) on a number of issues. My association dates back to 2010 and working with Mr Hal Branch and his team has always been a great pleasure. They provide solid, sound advise, are very responsive and professional indeed. We have always been successful in our cases and this is down to really professional and capable team. Highly recommended!'

    Nangu Teali
  • 'I have used their sales conveyancing service and advise on few teething legal issues. I am very pleased with the way they conduct themselves, especially Rashida, she has always acted in professional manner and most importantly picked up the phone when I needed her. Great service. would definitely recommend.'

    Archie Sumovskij
  • 'Hal Branch saved the day as my first divorce solicitor was very poor. He finalised my divorce in 2 weeks where my previous solicitor hadn’t made any real progress in the previous 2 years. He gives advice in a language that can actually be understood and promptly replies to any enquiry. Overall very happy and everyone I dealt with at the firm were very friendly and professional.'

    Jamie McCallister

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+44 (0)20 7851 0100