Divorce Solicitors in Birmingham
Are you going through a divorce and feeling overwhelmed by the legal process? Our team of experienced family and divorce solicitors are here to support you every step of the way. With our expertise and guidance, you can navigate the complexities of divorce with confidence and peace of mind.
At RLK Solicitors, we understand that divorce can be a challenging and emotional time. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of services to ensure that your interests are protected and your rights are upheld. Our dedicated solicitors have years of experience in handling divorce cases. We are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome.
We will handle all aspects of your divorce, from preparing and filing the necessary documents to representing you in negotiations and court proceedings. Our team will also handle all correspondence with the courts and any third-party solicitors, saving you time and stress.
Contact us today to schedule a 30-minute initial chat with one of our divorce solicitors. We are here to listen, guide, and advocate for you throughout the entire divorce process.
Do you need a solicitor to get divorced?
When facing the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, many people wonder whether they need the assistance of a divorce solicitor. While there is no legal requirement to hire a solicitor, it is highly recommended to seek expert advice and guidance throughout the divorce process.
Expertise in Divorce Law
It goes without saying that our divorce solicitors are well-versed in the intricacies of divorce law. They have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal processes and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. From filling out and filing the necessary documentation to representing you in negotiations or court proceedings. Our divorce solicitors will guide you every step of the way.
Financial settlements are often a significant aspect of divorce cases. Our team of divorce solicitors can provide invaluable assistance when it comes to financial matters. Helping you understand your entitlements and ensuring that you receive a fair and equitable division of assets. Our team can also help resolve any disputes or challenges surrounding finances. Meaning your financial interests are safeguarded.
Your child’s welfare and future arrangements are of utmost importance. Our team can help you navigate child custody and support. Ensuring that the best interests of your children are taken into account. They can assist in negotiating parenting plans and support agreements.
No fault divorce
No fault divorce came into effect in the UK on 6th April 2022. Under this new approach, couples seeking a divorce no longer have to establish blame or give reasons for the breakdown of their marriage.
What is No Fault Divorce?
No fault divorce essentially means that as a couple you can simply state that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. Without having to apportion blame. The focus is shifted away from assigning fault and towards amicable separation. This enables couples to proceed with the divorce more smoothly, without unnecessary conflict or finger-pointing.
No Fault Divorce – Joint Application
One of the key features of the new no fault divorce legislation is the option for couples to apply for their divorce jointly. This means both parties can initiate the divorce together. Providing a unified front and simplifying the process of divorce. By opting for a joint application, as a couple you can bypass the need for one spouse to make a sole application. Promoting a cooperative approach to divorce proceedings.
No Fault Divorce – Sole Application
While joint applications are ideal for couples who are amicably parting ways, we understand that this may not be the case for everyone. In situations where one spouse wishes to initiate the divorce, a sole application can be made. With our expertise as divorce solicitors in Birmingham, we can assist you in making a sole application.
Our experienced team will guide you through the necessary steps, from completing the required paperwork to representing you in court if necessary.
You can read more about No Fault Divorce here.
How much does a divorce cost?
Our services are centred on providing you with an efficient and positive resolution. At RLK Solicitors we offer:
- Initial 30 minute consultation either in person or by telephone or videolink for a fixed fee of £100 plus VAT
Standard Court Fees
In England and Wales, there is a standard court fee of £593 to process the divorce application. This fee is payable by the person applying for the divorce, also known as the applicant. If the divorce application is joint, both parties will share the court fee.
Factors Affecting Cost
The complexity of the case and the issues involved can impact the overall cost of a divorce. Factors such as financial matters, child arrangements, lack of cooperation by one party, and delays at divorce centres and family courts can all contribute to increased costs and prolonged proceedings.
For a more accurate estimate of costs you can speak with a member of our team. They will be able to assess your unique circumstances and provide you with tailored advice. Based on your specific situation.
How can we help you?
Our family and divorce law solicitors are not only highly skilled, they’re empathetic too. You’ll find us friendly, practical and discreet.
We deliver services to a wide range of clients, from high-net worth families with substantial assets and investments, to professional families and stay at home parents in the Birmingham and West Midlands region.
Trust us to ensure your divorce is carefully managed to reduce conflict and problems further down the line.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to apply to the court to make arrangements for my child after separation?
If you and your former partner can agree where your child/ren will live and who they will spend time with there is no need to make an application to the court.
In fact, because of something called the “no order” principle, there should be some sort of ongoing dispute (that you cannot resolve) for the court to get involved.
An application for the court to decide child arrangements, (previously known as residence and contact or access), can take a long time and can be a very fraught process.
Even if you cannot agree initially, other options such as mediation should be considered before making an application to court.
There are also resources online to help parents agree child arrangements. The website of the Citizens Advice Bureau, the gov.uk website and Cafcass’ website all have helpful resources. The Cafcass website also has useful information on creating a parenting plan.
There will, however, be circumstances in which you cannot reach agreement. If you have safeguarding concerns about the lifestyle of your child’s other parent or their ability to safely care for them, then you should speak to a suitably qualified solicitor. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.
How does the court approach child arrangements (formerly known as residence and contact)?
There is a legal presumption of parental involvement. This means that courts encourage a child’s relationship with both parents unless this would put the child at risk of harm.
- The wishes and feelings of the child. This is in light of the age and understanding of the child. Generally, the older a child, the more weight will be attached to their wishes and feelings. The court is not, however, obliged to give effect to a child’s wishes and feelings and can give consideration as to whether wishes and feelings are genuinely those of the child.
- The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs. A parent should be able to provide for a child’s physical needs e.g., a parent seeking overnight contact will need to provide somewhere for a child to sleep. Children generally have an emotional need to have a relationship with both of their parents and also their siblings.
- The likely effect on a child of a change in circumstances. This is often a balancing exercise. A court would be very reluctant to change where a child lives for example, simply because one parents wants that, but would usually be very willing to establish contact with a non-resident parent, even where that change may be unsettling for a time.
- The child’s age, sex, background and relevant characteristics. This can include arguments around cultural and religious backgrounds.
- Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering. There is a wide definition of harm, which also includes seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another e.g., a child hearing one parent harming the other parent. Allegations of harm will be thoroughly investigated, and any risks assessed.
- The capability of the child’s parents (or other relevant people) in meeting the child’s needs. This can include the capability of new partners also. A parent needs to be able to meet a child’s needs whilst in their care.
- The powers available to the court. This section tends to be more relevant to care proceedings.
The court must also be satisfied that making an order for a child is better than making no order at all.
Agreeing arrangements for children can be difficult and the prospect of the court making decisions for you is a daunting one. RLK Solicitors can assist with reaching agreements, guide you through the court process and help you achieve the best outcome for your child.
Child arrangements – what do I need to consider and what is a “usual” arrangement?
The two main considerations for your child/ren upon separation are usually, who they will live with (formerly known as residence), and who they will spend time with (formerly known as contact or access).
Any parent who has previously lived with a child full-time could be, understandably, concerned about spending less time with them. There is a legal presumption that parental involvement in a child’s life will further a child’s welfare, unless there is evidence to suggest that the involvement of that parent would put the child at risk of suffering harm
In deciding child arrangements, the focus needs to be on what it is in the child’s best interests. Every child and situation are unique, some children will thrive in a “shared care” situation, where they spend approximately equal time with both parents. Older children may want the independence to flow between two homes when they decide. Other children may need to spend more time in one base during term time with a very different arrangement in school holidays.
Add differing work patterns, geographical locations, starting or moving schools, differing support networks, parental communication, new siblings and partners and things can very easily become overwhelming.
Essential considerations are:-
- What is best for your child, which may be different from what each parent wants.
- That a separation does not diminish the love a child has for their parents, whatever you think of your former partner, your child is likely to be harmed by exposure to adult discussions and opinions.
- Listening to your child and trying to put yourself in their shoes, but not making them responsible for making decisions or choosing a parent.
Also think about:-
- Term time arrangements.
- Holiday arrangements.
- Christmas time and other celebrations, whether faith based or important to you as a family.
- Mother’s and Father’s Day.
- Indirect contact such as telephone and video contact.
Finally, any child arrangements, whether agreed or imposed by the court need a certain amount of flexibility. Children grow and circumstances change. What works for a 3 year old, most likely won’t work for a 13 year old.
Although a “usual order” may mean a child living mostly with one parent, spending every other weekend and a teatime contact with the other parent, plus half of all school holidays and alternating special occasion contact, there is no one size fits all approach.
RLK Solicitors can help support and guide you through reaching an agreement on child arrangements, or, if that is not possible, the court process. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.
How much am I entitled to after divorce/dissolution?
Dispelling the myth of an automatic 50/50 asset split in divorces, the court’s nuanced approach prioritises fairness, children’s welfare, and individual circumstances, considering a wide range of factors from income to contributions and needs.
It is a common misconception that all assets are split 50/50 after a divorce. Although a 50/50 split is a common starting point and is used as a cross check by the court, there is no hard and fast 50/50 rule.
Whilst it is absolutely possible to resolve matrimonial finances without going to court, it is sensible to bear in mind the approach and factors taken into account by the courts. Even agreements need to be turned into orders to be enforceable, and the court does not simply rubber stamp agreements. The factors below are also relevant to considering finances after the breakdown of a civil partnership.
The court’s approach is set down in section 25 of The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The aim of the court is to achieve a fair result based on the circumstances of the case, with children (under the age of 18) being the first consideration. The court is specifically required to consider the following:
(a) the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire.
In plain English this means, what the parties have (whether in sole or joint names) or are likely to have in respect of assets (including property, savings, businesses, investments and pensions) and incomes, including any increase in income that it would be reasonable for a party to acquire.
In plain English this means what the parties need in terms of income and capital, now and in the foreseeable future. Usually somewhere to live, sufficient income and, depending on ages, income in retirement.
In plain English this means, circumstances such as, holidays, meals out, socialising and new cars. This does not mean that each party is entitled to the same standard of living after separation. Often it is not possible to replicate the marital standard of living as the assets and income that have previously supported one household now need to support two households.
In plain English this means, the younger the parties, the less retirement incomes may be a consideration. The older the parties the more important pension considerations become. Age will also impact upon the ability to earn income. The shorter a marriage the more important individual contributions are likely to be.
Pre-martial cohabitation may also be taken into account.
Such disabilities may impact upon a parties’ needs.
(f) the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
Contributions to the welfare of the family are seen as equal to financial contributions. There can be no discrimination against a home maker. Where needs cannot be met without distributing assets contributed by one party only, the needs argument is likely to carry more weight than a contributions argument.
There are different types of conduct, including litigation conduct. There is a very high bar for taking personal conduct into account. Litigation conduct may result in orders for costs.
(h) in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.
This provision is often relied upon when making arguments to share pensions.
The court is also obliged to consider whether there can be a clean break between the parties and case law requires the court to consider needs, compensation and sharing.
Each of these factors and how they are applied is a lengthy topic and is always evolving through case law. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.
We have agreed how to divide finances, do I still need a solicitor?
Being able to agree how to divide finances with your spouse often makes for a more amicable, swift, and cost-effective solution. However, simply reaching an agreement cannot give parties a clean break, which means that either party could make an application to the court to consider finances at a later date. The only way to ensure a clean break is to turn your agreement into an order of the court.
Other points to consider are below:-
- Is the agreement you have reached fair? Even in respect of an agreement, the court will consider fairness and will refuse to turn an unfair agreement into an order.
- Do you know about the available assets and incomes? The first step in reaching a fair agreement is for both parties to disclose their full financial circumstances.
- Do you know what orders the court can make and how to make other provisions enforceable?
After reaching an agreement you should be able to move forward safe in the knowledge that a line has been drawn, the terms you have agreed can be enforced if necessary, and any future assets and income you accrue will be safe from further claims.
RLK Solicitors can assist with giving you the peace of mind to move forward knowing that your matrimonial finances have been resolved once and for all. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.
Where do I start with sorting out matrimonial finances?
There are two very distinct phases of resolving matrimonial finances, the initial short-term (usually income related situation) and the longer-term situation. In the first instance we will consider the first scenario.
A sensible starting point is to consider your basic outgoings such as:-
- Utility bills;
- Council tax;
- Car costs;
- Debt repayments;
- Childcare costs; and
- Other child related costs.
Make a list and total your basic income need. Previous bank statements may be a helpful guide to your outgoings. Remember that households with only one adult usually qualify for a reduction in council tax.
Secondly consider your income. What is your earned income, are you entitled to any benefits and is child maintenance a consideration? There is a useful child maintenance calculator on the gov.uk website which can assist. Will your former partner be making any ongoing contribution to outgoings and if not, is it possible to seek an order from the court for them to do so?
RLK Solicitors can help and guide you on the possibility of whether you have the right to make a claim for interim spousal maintenance, which can include a claim for a Legal Services Order to cover legal fees, and the likelihood of success of such a claim. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.