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Frequently Asked Questions

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Divorce and Separation FAQs

Solicitors from Burnetts, Carlisle, Cumbria answer your frequently asked questions on splitting up:

What are the grounds for divorce?

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage shown by one of five grounds which are briefly:

  • The other party’s adultery
  • The other party’s unreasonable behaviour
  • The other party’s desertion and two years' subsequent separation
  • Two years' separation and the other party’s consent to the divorce
  • Five years' separation 

Do I have to come in to see you?

If you are seeking legal advice it is usually best to arrange an appointment to see a solicitor / legal adviser so we can discuss matters fully. We will advise you about your position, what advice you might take and your legal costs. 

Does my spouse / partner need to know I’ve come to see you?

Your partner has no need to know that you have come for legal advice. Any advice / meetings are strictly confidential between you and ourselves.

However, if a child protection issue arises however we may need to refer that to Children’s Services if a child’s well-being is at risk.

Do you have to have been married for a minimum period before you can get a divorce?

Yes, for one year. You can obtain a judicial separation at any time after marriage, however, a decree of judicial separation does not end a marriage.

Do you offer a free first appointment?

We do not offer a free first appointment to new clients to the firm, but we do provide the first meeting (of up to one hour) and a letter of legal advice at a heavily discounted rate of £210 including VAT. Payment needs to be made either before or immediately after the appointment.  

How much does a divorce cost?

It is difficult to estimate costs in family matters; but a straightforward divorce usually costs around £1,150 including court fees and VAT.  The costs of proceedings about children and/or financial issues can be substantial, but depend on the circumstances of the case. An estimate of costs will be given at our first meeting.

We are not married and we live in my partner’s home. Am I entitled to anything?

There is no simple answer to this. The law gives no automatic rights to a partner in these circumstances, but if you have contributed towards the deposit on a purchase, or provided money for significant improvement to the house, you will usually have a claim. It is worth getting legal advice.

If we have been living together, but haven’t married, does everything have to be split 50/50?

Not necessarily. The law implements any express agreement that a couple makes about their property. If you have no precise agreement, the law may infer an agreement dependent on the circumstances. This will determine the share each of you gets, unless a party has not acquired a share expressly or by implication in which case you could end up with nothing.

For Frequently Asked Questions relating to children, (eg contact and the CSA) visit our Childcare FAQ pages

If you have questions about these or any other issues, please don't hesitate to contact Burnetts' divorce and separation solicitors on 01228 552222 or by email.

Who to contact

Simon Mortimer profile photo

Simon Mortimer

Simon is a Partner and leads the Family Law team at Burnetts.