At Rawlins Davy Reeves Solicitors we have a dedicated team of experienced family law solicitors who can offer professional and practical advice to those considering divorce or separation. We take pride in our personal service and ensure we provide confidential and sensitive support to help you through each step of this emotional and daunting experience, giving you peace of mind that you are in safe hands.

We offer a fixed fee scheme.  To find out more about our divorce or separation legal services or to arrange a meeting with a family solicitor please call us on 01202 674425 [or email office@rawlinsdavyreeves.com].



 The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which came into effect on 6 April 2022, introduced a reformed ‘No-Fault’ process. The aim was essentially to remove blame between the parties therefore making the process more amicable.

The previous grounds used in order to prove that the marriage had irretrievably broken down including adultery and unreasonable behaviour have been removed.  Instead, you now simply need to confirm the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.  The Act also allows the parties to make a sole or joint application, allowing a more amicable separation.



The application for a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership will ordinarily be made online.  For ease of reference we refer below to divorce but this applies equally to the dissolution of a civil partnership.

Once a sole application is submitted, the other party will have 14 days to acknowledge service and therefore confirm if they agree with the divorce or dissolution, or rather intend to dispute it. You can only dispute the application in very limited circumstances for example if you can challenge the jurisdiction of the Court or the process has not been followed correctly.

Failure to acknowledge the application will not stop the proceedings but you might be asked to cover the costs of the Applicant or the Court having to deliver the application to you personally to evidence acknowledgement of service. Alternatively, the Applicant will have the option to apply for deemed service or use a court bailiff and still proceed with the divorce.

In a joint application, the first Applicant will submit an application form to the Court, a copy of which is then sent to the second Applicant to complete.  The application will then continue with each party involved at each stage.


20 weeks after the divorce application is issued by the Court, you can apply for a Conditional Order (previously known as ‘Decree Nisi’). This confirms that you are entitled to divorce. Following a further 6 weeks and 1-day, you will be able to apply for a Final Order (previously known as ‘Decree Absolute’). This finalises the divorce.  However you should first consider whether it is in fact beneficial to apply for the Final Order or wait until financial matters are resolved.


Obtaining the Final Order on the divorce before settling financial matters could create a position of financial hardship.  For example, if the ex-spouse/civil partner were to first die, as a consequence of the Final Order having been made, the survivor will no longer be a spouse/civil partner at the time of death and therefore would not be entitled to various financial provisions that they would otherwise be automatically entitled to.  This could include for example pensions, life insurance policies, endowment policies and death in service benefits.  This can result in significant financial resources being entirely lost.  Further, in the absence of a financial agreement, the basis of the assessment of what the survivor would be entitled to is dealt with in a different way and may not therefore lead to such a favourable outcome.  In light of this, careful consideration should be given as to the timing of the application for the Final Order to either ensure that financial arrangements are finalised first or the legal implications have been fully considered according to your own personal circumstances so that an informed decision can be made as to what to do and when.



At Rawlins Davy Reeves we know that divorce can be a stressful and emotional time for all parties involved. Unfortunately it is something that many married couples face. We also appreciate that divorce can potentially be an expensive process and that is why we are pleased to offer a Fixed Fee Divorce Scheme.

Whether you are a sole Applicant or make a joint application our fees are as follows;

  1. An initial payment £480.00 payable on issue of the divorce application by the Court.
  2. A second payment of £480.00 is payable when the Conditional Order is made.

In total our fees are £960 inclusive of VAT.

Court fee on filing the application £593.00

Total £1,553.00


Most divorces proceed undefended and it is likely that we can act for you under our fixed fee scheme.  In the event that the divorce is defended and additional work is required or if the matter becomes more complex, we may need to increase our fees in line with the additional work required, however we will discuss this with you upfront so you will be fully aware of the costs involved.



Before the first meeting with one of our team, we ask that you complete an Instruction Form [link] which will provide us with much of the information that we need in advance. You can print a copy of the form from our website.  Please bring this with you to our first meeting. One of our specialist team will then discuss your circumstances in further detail at your first meeting or email to us.



  1. If the divorce is defended.
  2. If your spouse fails to return the acknowledgement of service within the specified time we may have to employ the services of a process server to personally hand the papers to them.
  3. The cost of obtaining a copy of your marriage certificate if you are unable to find it. The cost of a replacement marriage certificate is currently around £10.00. This must be submitted to the Court with the divorce application.
  4. Advice about property, finances and children matters.
  5. Enforcing an Order for costs.

The procedure for dealing with matrimonial finances and children matters is separate to the divorce process. Financial matters can include matters relating to the family home, pensions, savings, investments and maintenance.


It is possible to complete the divorce without finalising matters in relation to property, finances or children. If your circumstances do involve such matters, it is important that you seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer who has experience in handling and can guide and assist you.  Here at Rawlins Davy Reeves our lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with matters involving children and finances. These services are not be covered by our Fixed Fee Divorce Scheme and our fees will be charged on an hourly rate basis. Once we have met with you and we are aware of all of your personal circumstances, we will be able to give you a clear indication of the likely costs involved.



We are able to offer advice on a fixed fee on the basis that you are a Respondent and do not intend to contest the divorce application. Our fees will be fixed at £300 plus VAT. There will be an additional fee if the applicant does not apply for the Final Order and you then wish to do so.



  1. Meeting with you to discuss the divorce application you have received and advising you of the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.
  2. Preparing the Acknowledgement of Service on your behalf and filing this at Court.
  3. Overseeing the divorce proceedings throughout and keeping you updated.



  1. Representing you at Court if you wish to contest the divorce application.
  2. Advice or communication with you or your spouse regarding financial or children matters.
  3. Attendance at Court in relation to costs applications and defending applications.
  4. If you have to apply to the Court for the Final Order.


If you are a Respondent and you wish to talk to us about defending a divorce application, please contact us and one of our team will be able to assist you with this. We will also be able to give you an estimate as to the likely costs involved.



 We understand that it is right to consider the financial arrangements separately to those for your children, however they can of course be intrinsically linked to the outcome of the financial terms.


The financial arrangements for your divorce can be the most stressful and complicated part of the divorce process. We can assist with the arrangement of your financial assets by talking with your spouse or their solicitor. This can be undertaken outside of Court.


If the financial arrangements are complicated and an agreement with terms of settlement cannot be reached with your spouse then we can assist you with Court proceedings. We can explain the process and likely costs involved.  Please ask if you wish us to go through this with you.


Whenever children are involved in divorce proceedings, their needs are a priority. Most parents are able to agree the arrangements regarding their children, although disputes do sometimes arise. If you and your spouse cannot agree on where your children should live and/or contact arrangements, then you should seek legal advice. In circumstances where parties are unable to agree the arrangements for their children, it may be necessary to ask the Court to decide.


If you need assistance with arrangements involving your children, our experienced team are able to assist you. The legal costs involved would usually be charged at our hourly rates of between £140 and £300 plus VAT depending on the level of experience of your Lawyer.




How long will it take to get divorced?

It is not possible to get divorced in less than 6 months due to the process involved and usually where there are issues concerning children and/or finances we estimate at least 8-9 months to be a more realistic timescale.


When can I remarry?

Neither party can remarry until the Final Order on the divorce has been issued by the Court.


When will I need to pay?

If you are the Applicant and so that you do not have to pay a large bill all in one go, we will as above ask that you pay the fixed fee in two instalments with half on the issue of the application plus Court fee thus £1,073.00 and the balance of £480.00 when the Conditional Order is made.  This applies on a sole or joint application.  With regard to the fixed fee for a Respondent, we require an initial payment of £180 (inclusive of VAT) and a further balance of £180 (inclusive of VAT) when the Conditional Order is made.


Will I need to attend Court?

You will not need to attend Court unless the divorce is contested by your spouse. If there are issues to resolve regarding children and finances and these cannot be agreed between the parties, then you may need to attend Court. An Order will be made by the Court based on the individual circumstances of the matter.


When can the Applicant apply for the Final Order

The application can be made from 6 weeks and 1-day after the Conditional Order has been granted.


When can the Respondent apply for the Final Order

If the Applicant has not applied after 12 months from the date the Conditional Order was granted, the Respondent can apply after a further 3 months have passed.


Do both parties have to apply for a Conditional Order on a joint application?

You can apply for a Conditional Order and continue with the divorce as a sole applicant even if you started the divorce process jointly with your spouse.


Why may the Applicant delay applying for the Final Order

The principal reason for doing so is because if a financial settlement upon the divorce has not been reached and made legally binding, this can have particular financial implications which are detailed above under the section “what does the divorce or dissolution process involve?”.  It is important therefore that legal advice is sought before applying for the Final Order if financial matters have not been resolved.


Will my spouse be liable for my costs?

You may ask the Court to make an Order that your spouse contributes towards the costs of divorce. This may be some or all of the costs you incur under our Fixed Fee Divorce Scheme as well as the Court fee.


Are the Proceedings Public?

Court proceedings in family law are usually private. This means that the public and press are not allowed access to the Court papers. However, the press are permitted to publish that a divorce has been pronounced. The information that they may disclose is very limited.


Should I make a new Will?

Yes. This is very important.  On completion of the divorce any appointment or legacy to your spouse is void.  The Will could otherwise still be effective but it is prudent to seek legal advice on this.  Further, if you re-marry then your will is automatically revoked and you would need to make a new one. We recommend you make a Will immediately and this should be reviewed after the divorce is concluded.  Please discuss this with us if you wish to do so, and we can explain the options and requirements as well as providing details of our fees.

Can we separate formally without getting a divorce?

Yes. This can be achieved by way of a Separation Agreement which is useful when parties haven’t decided if they want to get divorced, or if they cannot do so yet. A Separation Agreement will set out the financial arrangements while you are separated to cover a range of areas, including but not limited to who pays the mortgage or rent,  household bills, who continues to live in the family home and what will happen once it’s sold.

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