Ending a Relationship

Civil Dissolution, Divorce, Judicial Separation, Islamic Divorce, London Solicitors, Divorce Solicitors, Divorce Lawyers, Free Legal Advice, How to Divorce, Filing for Divorce, Divorce Solicitor

If you are looking for help with ending a relationship through either an annulment, dissolution or divorce our specialist solicitors can help you.


In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings by telephone or video conferencing if required.

To discuss your options call us 24/7 on 0208 004 0065 or email us at hello@southgate.co.uk

Whether you are seeking a civil dissolution, filing for divorce or judicial separation the end of a relationship is usually an emotionally charged time and it is important that you seek expert legal advice from our divorce solicitors if there has been a separation or if one is expected.


Civil Partnership Dissolution

Ending a civil partnership requires a legal procedure to be followed to ensure that the dissolution is legal - this procedure is similar to filing for divorce. It is essential that you seek legal advice from a qualified and accredited solicitor if you are thinking of separation or pursuing a dissolution or if your civil partner has already pursued this.




If your marriage breaks down you may be entitled to pursue a divorce or it may be that your spouse has already pursued proceedings.


To pursue a divorce you will need to have been married for at least one year and prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken by relying on one of the following five "facts":


1. Unreasonable behaviour by your spouse towards you

2. Two-year separation with the consent of your spouse

3. Adultery by your spouse, if this is admitted or can be proven

4. Desertion by your spouse

5. Five-year separation


Practically, obtaining a divorce is not difficult and they are rarely defended. So long as the petition is drafted correctly and you have provided sufficient evidence to meet the criteria for the fact you rely on, the process will be relatively straightforward.


However, despite this divorce law can be complex. Recent statistics from the divorce centres and courts found that 40% of divorce petitions were refused due to errors. This is an unnecessary delay in the divorce process Furthermore, incorrect petitions that require amending will incur further costs in addition to a delay. This can be avoided if you instruct a qualified solicitor to represent and advise you.


Our expert divorce solicitors will ensure that your divorce goes through smoothly and that all the steps involved in filing for divorce and ensuring that the whole process is followed and dealt with as efficiently as possible.


Islamic Divorce


If your Islamic marriage breaks down or if you seek a divorce there is a certain legal route to pursue – which may need to be in the English courts or through religious routes. An Islamic divorce in England can be complex as certain religious marriages are not legally recognised under English law and it is essential that you obtain legal advice during the process.


Judicial Separation


If you have separated but are not ready to pursue or divorce, either for personal, practical or religious reasons, you are entitled to pursue a formal Judicial Separation which is approved by the court. 


What We Can Do


Given the complexities and sensitive nature of dissolution and divorce, it is always essential to seek advice and representation from a qualified and accredited solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and legal options.


We have extensive experience in dealing with all areas of dissolution and divorce law. We are members of Resolution and hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law.


Our Past Cases


Below are some civil dissolution and divorce cases we have represented and conducted in the past:


  • Negotiated and amicably settled a divorce and favourable financial relief matter on behalf of a husband 


  • Successfully pursued a financial relief application resulting in a substantive financial order and pension equalisation order favourable to wife


  • Obtained a freezing injunction on a husband's solely owned freehold commercial property to prevent a sale and thereafter pursued a contested application for financial relief for the wife


  • Pursued a successful jurisdiction race in the English courts and thereafter represented in heavily contested financial relief proceedings involving foreign assets concluding with a favourable outcome for transfer of joint property to husband and costs order against the wife


  • Amicably settled a civil dissolution and a clean break between two civil partners, with our client retaining the former family home for an equitable lump sum.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a divorce?

As long as you have been married for at least 12 months, and your marriage has broken down irretrievably you will most likely be entitled to apply for a divorce. Our qualified divorce solicitors will always discuss with you the reasons for the separation and whether the facts demonstrate irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If you do not meet the requirements to pursue a divorce our expert solicitors will explore other options, such as annulment or judicial separation.

Can my spouse defend the divorce?

Yes - but they will only be successful in pursuing a defence if they can show to the court that the marriage has not irretrievably broken down based on the fact you are relying on. From divorce statistics the vast majority of defended divorces are not successful and a divorce is usually granted. Defending a divorce is generally not advised as it is usual that if one spouse feels the marriage has broken down irretrievably a divorce will be inevitable. It will therefore be more important to focus on children and financial matters that may arise. If you are thinking of defending a divorce contact our expert solicitors first to ensure you are pursuing the best course of action.

Does my spouse need to agree to the divorce?

Not necessarily. The only facts that require you to obtain agreement with your spouse is adultery and two years separation. In the remaining facts, for example unreasonable behaviour or five years separation, you do not need your spouse to agree to this but you will need to show the court that your spouse is aware of the petition, or you have tried all possibly methods to make them aware of the divorce petition. We will always discuss with you the best options to deal with your case to ensure it is dealt with swiftly and without delay.

How long will the divorce take?

An uncontested divorce usually takes between 6 to 9 months at a minimum, however it is always advisable to avoid obtaining the final divorce order until financial matters have been agreed and approved by the court which will likely lengthy the time to finalise the divorce.

Do I need to go to court to get a divorce?

Divorce is dealt with by the courts by considering the paperwork and applications. It is very rare that you will need to attend court as this is usually only if there are issues with agreeing who pays the costs of the divorce or if the divorce itself is defended by the respondent.

My spouse has started the divorce process - what do I need to do?

The court will issue the petition and send you a copy along with an Acknowledgement of Service form for you to complete and return. The form is short, and appears straightforward, but if you are unsure of what you are signing and if you object to certain aspects of what is pursued in the petition - for example a costs order - then you should contact our expert divorce solicitors to obtain advice about filling in the form.

We married abroad, can we get a divorce in England?

As long as the ceremony followed the legal process in the country where you married you will be entitled to pursue a divorce in England as long as you meet the jurisdictional requirements of pursuing a divorce. Our experienced divorce lawyers can assess and advise on whether your marriage is considered a "legal" marriage and if you can pursue a divorce in England.

I have a Nikkah/Islamic marriage - is this a legal marriage?

Under English law a specific legal process needs to be followed for a marriage to be considered legal. A Nikkah or Islamic marriage entered into in England and Wales has no legal status under English law unless it is accompanied by a civil marriage either at a registry office or at an approved mosque. There are a handful of mosques that are authorised to register marriages, but the vast majority are not. If your Islamic marriage is not accompanied by a civil registration, you will be considered cohabitees under English law and the rights you will have almost no rights, or extremely limited rights to claim financial relief in the event of a separation. If you had a Nikkah or Islamic marriage abroad and the legal process was followed under that jurisdictions legal system (for example in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan), under English law the Nikkah or Islamic marriage will be considered legal. If your Nikkah or Islamic marriage is not considered a legal marriage under English law you may have other options to pursue financial matters in the event of a separation, especially if you have children together. If you are uncertain whether your Nikkah or Islamic marriage is considered a legal marriage you should call our expert divorce solicitors who can give you free advice about your circumstances and options.

Are you seeking a divorce or planning on separating?
Call us now or send an enquiry below to discuss your options!