Areas of Practice
Family Law » Divorce
We are experienced, understanding divorce lawyers with Offices in Cardiff, Bristol and London.
You can get a divorce if you have been married at least a year and your relationship has permanently broken down.Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK.
We offer a free initial consultation with one of our specialist Family Law Solicitors. We will advise you of your options and let you know the likely costs involved in taking any action. We can assit through the entire Divorce process or provide a low cost uncoupled service where we can answer any of your queries. Call us on 02920 765050 for more information.
We understand that perspective clients may be wary of instructing a Solicitor concerned that legal fees may spiral. We offer a single fixed fee of £499 (excluding VAT & Disbursements) to deal with your divorce, from the start through to conclusion. The fee will cover all meetings, advice and works required to obtain your divorce (although it doesn’t cover sorting out disputes about children or disputes about property and finance).
In addition to our fees the Court will charge a petition fee of £550 (as of 21st March 2016) unless you are in receipt of benefits or have a low income, in which case you may be eligible for a fee exemption for all or part of the Court fees.
Why is a Consent Order necessary?
A Divorce does not prevent financial claims being brought by an ex spouse after the Divorce and there are no time limits for seeking orders for financial provision. If you do not wish to be dealing with financial claims after your Divorce, it is important that all Financial issues are resolved by your Solicitor.
Once you have divorced your husband or wife could still make an application to the Court in relation to the matrimonial finances, even if you have already divided the assets. The only way to protect yourself from your spouse making such an application in the future is to obtain an order from the Court. Where you have agreed a financial settlement a Consent Order can be drafted and put before the Court. If there is such an agreement, Clodes solicitors can on your behalf prepare a consent order and statement in support.
Do it yourself Divorces without consideration to future financial claims maybe a false economy storing trouble for the future. Do you anticipate an improvement in your finances, an increase in future earnings or an inheritance? Make sure you deal with your finances at the time of your Divorce, rather than store problems for the future.
The Vince v Wyatt case demonstrates why consent orders are essential after an ex wife brings claim 22 years after Divorce.
In the case of Vince v Wyatt the Husband and wife divorced in 1992. In 2011 the wife issued an application for financial orders in particular that the husband should make payment of a lump sum 1.9 million pounds to her in satisfaction of all her claims. She also applied for an order that the husband should make interim periodical payments to her. The husband attempted to strike out the application under Rule 4.4 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010. The High Court dismissed the strike out application and ordered the husband to make interim periodical payments to his ex wife amounting to a total of £125,000. The husband successfully appealed and the wife was ordered by the Court of Appeal to repay the interim payments. The wife subsequently appealed and the matter was heard before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court Judgement was delivered by Lord Wilson and held that the Court of Appeal had erred overturning the High Court judgement in favour of the wife.
The Court accepted the wife had difficulties as the passage of time may cause difficulties proving facts, the Court agreed with the Court of Appeal in that in order to sustain a case of need the wife must show not only that the need exists but that it has been generated by her relationship with her husband.
However the Supreme Court also noted the wife had a potentially stronger argument that “to the discharge of its duty under section 25 of the 1973 Act the Court must, by subsection (2)(f), have regard to “the contributions which each of the parties has made ... to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family”. Such contributions are not limited to the period of the marriage.
The Court citied Pearce v Pearce (1980) 1 FLR 261 in this case the parties Divorced and for 9 years the wife single handily cared for the children, the husband made no financial contribution being a undischarged bankrupt. The husband inherited a substantial sum from his father’s estate and the wife subsequently and successfully applied for an order for a lump sum. The basis for the award in this case was that the husband had not discharged his financial obligations to his wife and their children and the mere fact he obtained his capital some ten years after the marriage was not a ground to prevent a partial redistribution from the husband to his wife and children.
Lord Wilson stated “Consistently with the potentially life-long obligations which attend a marriage, there is no time-limit for seeking orders for financial provision or property adjustment for the benefit of a spouse following divorce. Sections 23(1) and 24(1) of the 1973 Act provide that such orders may be made on granting a decree of divorce “or at any time thereafter”. Yet there is a prominent strain of public policy hostile to forensic delay. The court will look critically at explanations for it; and, even irrespective of its effect upon the respondent, will be likely, by reason of it and subject to the potency of other factors, to reduce or even to eliminate its provision for the applicant”.
Whilst the case of Vince v Wyatt is far from being settled it has be established that the Wife’s financial claim against her ex husband is not without merit, regardless of the time that has passed since the divorce or that the husband obtained his capital some considerable time after the Divorce. Whilst the Supreme court believes the wife claim for £1.9 million is out of the question its clear that she is not prevented from bringing a financial claim against her ex husband. What this means is that without a settlement being reached between the parties the parties must once again return to Court this time to determine the wife’s financial claim.
There are 3 main steps to getting divorced:
1 File a divorce petition - you have to apply to the Court for permission to divorce and show reasons why you want the marriage to end.
2 Apply for a decree nisi - if your spouse agrees to the petition, you’ll get a document confirming there is no reason you can’t divorce.
3 Apply for a decree absolute - this legally ends your marriage - you need to wait 6 weeks after you get the decree nisi before you can apply.
We can help you thorough each step or to deal with a particular issue such as assisting the resolution of a financial dispute between the parties.
CALL CLODES SOLICITORS TODAY ON 02920 765050 FOR A FREE TELEPHONE ATTENDANCE TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE.