Divorce & Children

Relationship breakdowns can be traumatic. Naturally, you will be concerned about your finances, property arrangements and how it will affect any children you have.

Taking this step is never easy, but we are here to offer you support and guidance throughout the process.

We are experienced in advising clients faced with complex financial and emotional situations. We aim to provide sympathetic and tailored advice to help you on the road to a brighter future.

We can help you with:

Book a free appointment

Frettens are pleased to offer a free initial appointment for all new clients. We recognise the importance for clients of deciding whether they can work with a particular solicitor and to find out more about the process and likely outcome. Our family lawyers offer positive, down to earth advice, and we hope that this initial meeting allows you the time to see this as well.

Contact us if you would like a free initial appointment with a member of our Family Team at our Christchurch office, with no obligation or charge. Call on 01202 499255 or fill out the form on the right.

Family Law in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ringwood and the New Forest

We have offices in Christchurch and Ringwood. Our Family Team also covers Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest, with the majority of our clients located in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

If you live in Bournemouth or Poole:

Please do not be put off by our location and please do not hesitate to contact us. Our family solicitors will be very happy to speak with you.

All staff, from the first phone call  showed themselves to be ‘people people’ and I felt very supported and cared for during a very difficult time.

Ask us at Frettens

Here's some frequently asked questions on divorce, if you need to ask us anything more please get in touch using the form on the right.

Q. How do I get a divorce?

A. You can get a divorce in England or Wales if you have been married at least a year and the relationship has permanently broken down. You must have a marriage that’s legally recognised in the UK - this includes same-sex marriage even if the ceremony took place abroad. When you apply for a divorce you will need to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Currently you will need to rely upon one of five facts to prove this which are adultery (in mixed sex marriage only), unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for 2 years with consent and separation for 5 years. The procedure for getting a divorce in England and Wales follows a sequential set of steps with various documents completed and filed at Court.

Q. How much is the court fee?

A. The court fee for a divorce is currently £550.

Q. I want a clean break for finances

A. Whilst getting a divorce ends the contract of the marriage, it does not deal with the financial aspects of the separation. Unless you enter into a formal agreement known as a consent order and get a clean break order, your ex-spouse could make a claim for a share of your assets, property, inheritance, income or pensions in the future even many years after the divorce.

Q. How do I get my husband / wife to leave the home

If the matrimonial home is owned jointly by you both, then you both have a legal right to occupy the property. Even if the matrimonial home is owned legally by only one of you, then the other may still have a right to occupy the property. This right comes to an end when you get divorced. Unless there is harm or threat of violence towards you (or the children), you would be unable to force the other spouse to leave. If there is domestic violence, or a risk of, you can apply to the courts for an injunction to have them removed from the home. If the matrimonial home is in joint names, then you will need your spouse’s consent to proceed with the sale.

It is often wise to consider severing the joint tenancy if the marriage has broken down irretrievably, this is easy to do and we can help you to arrange this; it means that should one of you die, your share in the property will pass in accordance with your will and not automatically to the former spouse. If the property is in your spouse’s sole name, then we can help you to register a Matrimonial Homes Rights Notice on the property which would prevent your spouse from being able to sell the property without your agreement.

Q. Can I change the locks?

This is a very common question and the short answer is no. As a married couple living in the matrimonial home, you both have a legal right to be in the property and neither of you can exclude the other unless you have been to court and obtained a court order which permits you to do so. If you have separated from your spouse and agree that one of you will move out, until a long term solution has been reached, it is best to hold off changing the locks and agree when they can enter the home, to collect belongings for example. If your spouse changes the locks without your agreement, you are entitled to arrange for your own lock smith to change the locks again or obtain a court order to provide you with a copy of the key.

Q. What is a no fault divorce?

Current laws require one spouse to rely on adultery or behaviour of the other for divorce proceedings to start immediately.

A no fault divorce will allow couples to state that their marriage has broken down irretrievably, without apportioning blame.

It is hoped that the new laws will help reduce conflict between separating couples, which can be damaging to children involved.