FAQ’s

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding our services.

Divorce costs

Question: What does it cost?

Answer: This depends on the task we are given. We charge on an hourly basis, but are able to give you forward estimates once we have a clear idea of your situation and the action required.

Question: Can't I get a quickie 'Haitian' Divorce?

Answer: Certainly, but it will not be accepted in the U.K (unless you are Haitian) and not in many other countries. For it to be recognised in the U.K you would need to start proceedings over again.

Question: Can you work for a success fee?

Answer: No, it is seen as unethical to do so in divorce cases.

Question: Can I pay for your services from my financial settlement?

Answer: We do try to be as flexible as we can about payment and in some specific situations we have taken a large share of the payment at the end of the case, but it very much depends upon your circumstances. If your money is tied up until the divorce is finalised there are also other payment options, such as borrowing from family or friends, short term loans, or gaining a legal costs allowance from the other party.

Question: What if I can't afford a lawyer?

Answer: These days there are several ways in whic you can pay for your divorce, find out more about divorce payment options.

Considering Brookman

Question: Why do I need a Lawyer?

Answer: Because a lawyer is an experienced, expert adviser who will represent you better than you can do for yourself.

Question: How do I know if you can help me?

Answer: Contact us. If the problem is out of our field we will tell you. We only charge a fee once we have confirmed that we can advise you and you give us instructions to go ahead.

Question: Won't having a lawyer turn it into a fight?

Answer: No, we settle far more matters than we fight. We take the approach you wish us to.

Question: How do I choose a lawyer?

Answer: Please refer to our page How to find a divorce lawyer.

Question: If our planned divorce is amicable, can we both come and see you for legal advice?

Answer: Normally, the same legal firm cannot act on behalf of both husband and wife but in exceptional cases it can happen. It would be best for you to speak to us about it.

Question: What should I bring to a first interview?

Answer: Any relevant documents you may hold.  To issue divorce proceedings a marriage certificate is required.  If you do not have this we can prove the marriage by other means.

Question: Can I have a consultation over the phone?

Answer: Yes – this can be arranged.  Contact us here and we can agree a time for a free first interview.

Question: Is Holborn your only office?

Answer: No – Henry Brookman also has an office in Haslemere, Surrey.

Divorce

Question: Do I need to attend court in person when I get divorced?

Answer: In most cases, neither party attends court in person. Basically, the process is administrative.

Question: Will the chosen grounds for divorce affect the likely financial settlement?

Answer: No. Some people assume that if they admit to adultery (for example) this will have a bearing the court’s decision or the financial settlement. This is not so. Under normal circumstances, the chosen fact on which your divorce is based has no bearing on its outcome.

Question: Can I divorce my partner without their involvement?

Answer: Yes, most divorces do not need the other party’s consent.

If your partner’s whereabouts are known but they are ignoring the divorce paperwork sent to them, it is entirely possible to obtain a divorce even if your spouse is simply refusing to acknowledge your correspondence. We deal with this situation frequently.

Question: How can I get maintenance where the other party lives abroad

Answer: By having us use the Reciprocal Enforcement treaties or taking action in the other country.

Question: Can I make a claim where the assets are in my partners name?

Answer: Yes.  Look at the Financial settlements and Co-habitation pages.

Question: Can I divorce on the basis of separation if we are still living together?

Answer: It is possible to be separated whilst still living under the same roof. There are often grounds of divorce though – separation is not essential.

Question: Can my self-employed husband pay himself less salary during the divorce to reduce his financial settlement?

Answer: There are several ways in which someone’s true income can be evaluated. It should be possible to obtain disclosure of your husband’s past business accounts and then argue to the court that any maintenance for you should be calculated on his real income, not a reduced salary that he chooses to pay himself in the short term.

Question: Can my partner demand that I move out while we get a divorce?

Answer: Probably not. If you jointly own the property you are jointly entitled to live there. In many cases a spouse agrees to move out in order to remain amicable, or they come to an arrangement that allows them to live separately but in the same property.

Question: My partner says he will never agree to sell our home if we divorce. Can he refuse to sell?

Answer: If the court decides he has to pay a settlement then your husband can be forced to sell the house by order of the court or transfer his share of the house to you and vacate the property.

Question: Can I gain a share of my husband’s pension on divorce?

Answer: It is possible to apply to the court for a ‘pension sharing order’ which sets out how much of your husband’s pension you are entitled to. These orders are in fact very common. They result in a defined amount being set up in a new pension plan for you. Sometimes a lump sum may be paid instead of sharing the pension.

Question: Is there a minimum period of time I must be married before I can divorce?

Answer: Yes, in England & Wales you need to have been married for at least a year before you can start divorce proceedings. If you have been married for less than a year and you know you will be seeking a divorce after a year has passed, it is wise to contact us in good time for some (free) initial advice. If anything needs to be done, we can file for a judicial separation in the meantime.

Question: Do I need my marriage certificate to get divorced?

Answer: Usually, yes you will need to provide a marriage certificate to start divorce proceedings. If you can’t find your certificate, it is possible to apply for a replacement. Sometimes we have to get a court order to accept the fact that you were married when there just is no record at all.

Question: What is a Clean Break Order?

Answer: A Clean Break Order permanently severs any financial connections between you and your spouse. It kills off any possible future claim for maintenance or a lump sum. This might benefit you if your earnings are likely to increase over time, or you might receive an inheritance or any other source of future wealth that your ex-spouse might otherwise claim against.

Question: Can I change my child’s surname after we divorce?

Answer: A change of your child’s surname would require written consent from the other parent or a court order.

Question: Are the details of my divorce made public?

Answer: Minimal information regarding your divorce is made available to the public. It is possible for the press to publish that your divorce has been pronounced and the fact on which the divorce was based (e.g. unreasonable behaviour) but no further details are published. However, the vast majority of divorces are of no interest to the press and for practical purposes are never disclosed.

International divorce

Question: Do i have to get divorced in the country where I got married?

Answer: No.  For further information look at our Divorce and International Marriages pages.

Question: What if I don't know where my spouse is?

Answer: We can probably solve that.  Look at our Divorce page for an example.

Question: What if we've agreed everything?

Answer: Then you would be wise to have a lawyer document it.  Consent Orders may be desirable – see our Financial Settlements page.

Question: Can I file for a divorce if my husband is in another country?

Answer: Yes – the most specialized solicitor to deal with cross border related cases is Henry Brookman.

Question: Can we obtain a pre-nup that can be enforced in other countries?

Answer: There are a lot of countries that recognise prenuptial agreements in one way or another. For example, in England they are not binding but the courts are likely to hold someone to the pre-nuptial agreement. However, many countries require you to choose a form of marital regime before you marry. It’s always wise to discuss with us your specific circumstances so we can advise you.

Question: If my partner moves to Australia, will they still have to pay me maintenance?

Answer: Orders for maintenance made here can be enforced in Australia. There is a system of reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders which we can help you with.

Children Issues

Question: How do I get visiting rights?

Answer: Look at our Children’s Issues page.