Tel: 01353 662 918   Fax: 01353 662 747


Family Matters

Unsure what rights you have or what needs be done?

HEY Solicitors will discuss your needs and present the options available to you.

We understand how emotional and stressful family disputes can be. Decision making can often be difficult when emotions are running high. We will help guide you through this difficult period and help you make suitable decisions. We are not judgemental and require all facts in order to guide you.

You need to appreciate that there are many legal procedures, some of which will cause time delays and frustrations. We will do our best to help avoid delays and to reach a fair conclusion in a compassionate way. To discuss your particular circumstances, please call us on (01353) 662918.


Free Legal Advice

If affording legal costs is something that you are worried about, The Citizen’s Advice Bureau should be able to help you free of charge. Their website can be found below:-

Similarly, if you do choose to use a Lawyer, you may be able to get Legal Aid from the Government that can help with expensive fees. Public Funding is currently only available in Family Law and Divorce cases where you are the victim of domestic abuse or violence and you have a Police Crime Reference Number. More information can be found by clicking the link below:-

Please note that we are unable to act for/or advise those who are eligible for Public Funding.  Only firms with Legal Aid Contracts with the Government are able to offer such services.


If You Choose to Instruct a Lawyer

Wherever possible, we will estimate fees. It is important you are aware of the costs involved at every stage, as Matrimonial cases are expensive. We also use monthly billing so that you can manage your payments and, with the exception of any Court commitments, you can pause your case to allow yourself time to afford these. Fewer issues to resolve means a smaller bill, so we will seek cooperation and agreement between the parties. Remember, each person needs their own Legal Advisor, this avoids any agreement being ‘undone’.



All divorces begin with one spouse/civil partner filling in the relevant paperwork in order to get the case started. This person is known as the “Petitioner” at Court and the paperwork involved is known as a “Petition”. This Petition is sent to the Court, who in turn will send it to the other spouse/civil partner for their acknowledgement. The spouse/civil partner who receives the Petition is known as the “Respondent” and will have to complete a form to acknowledge receipt of the Divorce papers and to indicate if they intend to defend the case.


Grounds for Divorce

A Divorce can only be started at Court if the Petitioner can show at least one of the following five reasons apply to their circumstances:-

  1. The Respondent has committed adultery.
  2. The Respondent has behaved unreasonably. This means they have behaved in such a way that the Petitioner could not reasonably be expected to remain married to the Respondent.
  3. The Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for at least two years. (Perhaps the hardest to prove, as the Petitioner needs to prove the Respondent intended to desert).
  4. The Parties have been separated for two years or more, and the other party agrees to the Divorce taking place.
  5. The Parties have been separated for five years (no consent to Divorce is needed).

In general, it is good practice to agree the wording of a Divorce Petition either with your spouse or their legal advisors before any documents are sent to the Court to be issued.


If we act for the Petitioner (The Person who Starts the Process)

  1. We will make sure you fully understand what each of these 5 reasons for Divorce mean.
  2. We will draft the Petition in a way that aims at minimising upset or offence to the Respondent.
  3. We will for a friendly and mature approach from the start of your case as it may well aid financial/child related negotiations between the Parties.


If we act for the Respondent (The Person Prepared to Accept the Grounds for Divorce)

  1. We will consider the contents of the Petition with you.
  2. We will ensure you are aware of what the procedure is once they have signed the form of acknowledgement from the Court.


What Happens to the Children?

The Law states that where there are children involved, their welfare is the most important consideration. We focus on making sure the parents act in the best interests of their children and aim to resolve problems with contact, including assistance with negotiating a contact schedule. If the Parties cannot reach agreement on visits, schooling, medical matters affecting the children, or permission to live outside England and Wales, then Mediation must be attended before Court Orders can be issued.

What if I Have a Dispute About Money or Property?

Dividing property/money/assets can be the most stressful part of a Divorce. Financial applications to the Court are the most expensive, we strive to negotiate a settlement away from the Judges. Where asset division is involved, the parties must show one another the full extent of their expenses, so that your combined wealth can be suitably divided. This is known as “Disclosure”. If negotiation fails, one party will need to apply for Mediation before any Court application can be made.


Do I Have to go to Court?

As it stands, Mediation is a legal requirement for all parties intending to Divorce. It is a final attempt at getting the parties to resolve their issues outside of Court. We set out a brief description of what Mediation is below:

  • Mediation consists of meetings between an Independent Mediator and the two parties in dispute. The Mediator is unbiased, and will take into account both sides of the story.
  • There are fees involved, but these are cheaper than those of the Court. They do not need to be paid if you are unemployed.
  • You have to attend Mediation before any Court application can be made.


What if you Want to Separate, but aren’t Ready for Divorce?

We can offer a Separation Agreement if you aren’t ready to Divorce. These are legally enforceable as a Contract, and their purpose is to set out how both you and your spouse/civil partner will cooperate over joint financial obligations and arrangements for your children. The Agreement can stay in place until a future Divorce, at which point the terms can be put into a full Court Order. They can include agreement on who pays the Rent/Mortgage, who continues to live at the family home, what happens to debts and savings, how to divide furniture and most importantly any arrangements for children involved.


How do I Protect What is Already Mine?

We offer both Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements that make sure you get to keep what is yours if your Marriage breaks down. These can include agreement on assets such as Bank Accounts, Vehicles and other assets. It also can include protection from your partner’s debts and expenses, as well as setting out how to deal with the things you have purchased as a couple.


Thinking of Moving in With Your Partner, but Aren’t Ready To Marry?

With Marriage rates in decline and Divorce rates on the increase, we are more likely to live with our partner and remain unmarried. Co-Habitation Agreements safeguard assets or inheritances established before you live together. They give certainty to your arrangements and give couples something in black and white before they decide to move in together.  Although they don’t grant you the same rights as a married couple, they do set out who pays the Mortgage and bills and help determine who owns what percentage of your home.


The content on this website is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. We advise that users of this web site seek specific legal advice by contacting our Matrimonial Department regarding specific legal issues. HEY Solicitors Limited do not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any content on this web site. Information on this web site is current at the original date of publication, but should not be relied upon as accurate for any particular purpose.

Accessing or using this web site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the web site may allow access to or communications with our staff (by e-mail or otherwise), receipt of any such correspondence by any of our staff here at HEY Solicitors Limited does not create a lawyer client relationship. HEY Solicitors Limited do not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this web site.

This web site may contain links to third party web sites. Monitoring the substantial amount of information available through those links is beyond our capability. Links are provided for information purposes only and HEY Solicitors Limited do not endorse the information available through such links, nor guarantee their accuracy, timeliness or fitness for a particular purpose.


What if I Require More Information Specific to me?


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