Divorce Solicitors in South West Wales

Getting divorced or separated can be confusing and highly stressful, with various practical issues to sort out, as well as dealing with the emotional fallout from the end of your relationship. Our friendly, expert divorce solicitors are here to help getting through your divorce easier, while making sure you can move forward in a positive way.

We can assist you with every aspect of your divorce, including initiating and responding to divorce proceedings, reaching a financial settlement and making arrangements for any children. In most cases, we can help you to resolve these issues without the need for court action, saving you time and money while keeping conflict to a minimum.

Our Family Law team have achieved accreditation from the Law Society in Family Law Advanced and Children Law, reflecting our expertise in the more complex areas of family law, including complex finances, international divorce and domestic violence.

We can also offer the benefit of our Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accredited Residential Property team, who can assist with buying and selling property, remortgaging and transfer of ownership, which are often required during divorce and separation.

Our divorce lawyers can offer appointments at four local offices across South West Wales, in Carmarthen, Fishguard, Haverfordwest and Narberth, so please contact your local Hains & Lewis team to arrange an initial appointment.

How we can help to make your divorce easier for you

Divorce proceedings

Whether you want to start divorce proceedings or need to respond to divorce proceedings started by your spouse, we can offer the clear, practical guidance you need.

Our divorce lawyers can advise you on what reasons to give for the divorce in your petition, whether it is worth cross-petitioning if your spouse has started proceedings, and how best to resolve any disputes with your spouse over your divorce.

With our experience and detailed legal understanding of all aspects of divorce law, we can help your divorce to go ahead faster and more smoothly, making the process easier on you and your loved ones.

Financial settlements

Separating your finances is essential to allow you to move on and start living truly independent lives. In most cases, it is possible to agree a fair settlement voluntarily with the right legal advice and support, but court action is sometimes necessary.

Our divorce solicitors are highly skilled in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) meaning we can usually help you to negotiate a voluntary divorce settlement with your former spouse. This can allow you to get a settlement faster and avoid any unnecessary conflict.

However, where a voluntary settlement cannot be reached, or ADR is not appropriate for your circumstances, we can support you in seeking a financial separation through the courts. Our team have very strong divorce court experience, so can ensure you case is effectively prepared and presented to give you the best chance of a fair outcome.

Arrangements for children

If you have children with your former partner, protecting their wellbeing is essential. Working out where they will live and what time they will spend with each parent can be relatively straightforward or much more complicated, depending on the circumstances.

Our divorce law solicitors have very strong expertise in dealing with arrangements for children during divorce and separation. We can help you make a voluntary agreement with your ex-partner where possible or support you in court action where required.

By taking a sensitive but pragmatic approach, we can help you get arrangements in place that protect your rights as a parent and your children’s wellbeing, no matter how complicated your situation.

Our divorce fees

Fixed fee divorce

We are able to offer a number of our divorce services on a fixed fee basis, including assistance with preparing and submitting divorce petitions. This gives you certainty over the costs involved in dealing with these issues.

Pay as you go divorce

For more complex issues, our divorce fees will be based on a fixed hourly rate agreed in advance. This means you will be paying for the exact amount of work we do on your behalf and all billable work will be agreed in advance, so you always stay in control of the cost of your divorce.

Frequently asked questions about divorce

What are the grounds for divorce?

There is currently only one accepted grounds for divorce in the UK – that your marriage has permanently broken down. To prove that this is the case, you will need to cite one of the following five reasons in your divorce petition:

Adultery – Where your spouse has had sex with someone of the opposite sex without your consent. Same-sex infidelity is not currently classed as adultery and instead falls under ‘unreasonable behaviour’ (see below).

Unreasonable behaviour – Where your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can no longer reasonably be expected to continue with your marriage. This is the most commonly used grounds for divorce.

Unreasonable behaviour covers a wide range of issues, such as your spouse spending too much time at work or out with friends, to refusing to contribute financially, not providing emotional support, and more serious issues, such as drug abuse and domestic violence.

Desertion – Where your spouse has left you without your agreements, without good reason and with the intention to end your relationship for at least 2 years out of the last 2.5 years.

Separation for at least 2 years – Where you and your spouse have lived separately for 2 years or more and your spouse agrees to the divorce.

Separation for at least 5 years – Where you and your spouse have lived separately for 5 years or more, whether your spouse agrees to the divorce or not.

Can I get a ‘no fault’ divorce?

‘No fault’ divorce refers to the idea of being able to get divorced if both spouses agreed without needing to provide a reason. This is not currently an option under English law, which covers both England and Wales.

The UK government has announced plans to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce at some point in the future, however, there is currently no timeline for when this might become law, so at the moment you cannot get a no fault divorce in Wales or England.

How long does it take to get divorced?

This will entirely depend on the circumstances. Generally, your divorce will go much faster if your spouse agrees to the divorce and you can reach a voluntary agreement on dealing with issues such as finances and any children you have together.

If you initiate divorce proceedings, your spouse will need to respond within 8 days of receiving the ‘acknowledgement of service’ notifying them that you have submitted a divorce petition.

If your spouse chooses not to defend the divorce or fails to respond, you can then apply for a decree nisi. This is a legal document issued by a court stating that they see no reason your divorce cannot go ahead.

Once the decree nisi is issued, you will need to wait a minimum of 43 days before you can apply for a decree absolute, which is a document issued by the court legally ending your marriage.

This means that, if your spouse chooses not to defend the divorce and everything goes ahead smoothly, it is usually possible to get divorced in as little as 2 months.

Do I need go to court to get divorced?

No, in most cases you will not need to go to divorce court as any issues, such as disputes over your financial settlement or children, can usually be resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The only circumstances where you may need to go to divorce court will usually be:

  • If your spouse chooses to defend the divorce
  • If you cannot agree a financial settlement or arrangements for children voluntarily
  • If you feel ADR is inappropriate e.g. if you have been the victim of domestic abuse

We will be happy to discuss these options with you to make sure your divorce can be dealt with as easily as possible in a way that you are comfortable with.

Speak to our divorce solicitors in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire

To arrange an initial consultation with our approachable, expert divorce solicitors in South West Wales, please contact your local Hains & Lewis office by telephoning 0345 408 0125 or sending an email to law@hainsandlewis.co.uk