Divorce Lawyers in Guildford

Divorce – When and How?

Divorce can come from many factors. People change as they get older, circumstances can vary as we go through life and the futures we all visualise for ourselves and our families can change with the passage of time. It is normal to experience these things.

We understand that if you are reading this page you may be feeling very uncertain about your options and what you want to do at this point in your life. rhw’s Family Law Team are happy to have a chat with you and see how they can help you get your life back on track. You are not alone.

Let’s start with the basics: In the UK a divorce can only be granted after at least one year of marriage and once it has been proved that the relationship has reached the point of “irretrievable breakdown”.

The main stages of Divorce are as follows:


  1. Find valid grounds for divorce

To file for divorce your marriage must have irretrievably broken down due to one of the five area described further down.

  1. File the divorce petition

An initial application for court permission to divorce. Reasons need to be provided as to how the relationship has broken down.

  1. Acknowledgement of Service

If the submitted paperwork is correct you will receive a stamped copy of your application from the Court and a unique case number.

  1. Apply for a decree nisi

If your partner co-operates and agrees with the divorce petition, you will receive a decree nisi, which confirms there is no reason why you cannot divorce.

  1. Apply for a decree absolute

You  will have to wait six weeks after the decree nisi is pronounced before you can apply for a decree absolute, which legally ends the marriage.


What You Need to Prove in a Divorce

To show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down you will need to prove one of the following things:

  • adultery
  • your partner has behaved unreasonably
  • your partner deserted you at least two years ago
  • you’ve lived apart for at least two years (with the consent of the other party)
  • you’ve lived apart for at least five years (no consent required)

How do I start the Divorce Process?

We recommend you initially contact rhw’s family law team for a chat about your present situation and options open to you. 01483 302000  family@rhw.co.uk 

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so what suits you may not suit someone else. Our friendly and highly effective professional team will explain the whole process and your options.


Experience Counts in Divorce Proceedings

The experience of rhw’s family law team from helping many clients over the years, has led to a deep inside knowledge of how the courts work, where the potential pitfalls lie and the best approach to the myriad amount of legal paperwork that divorce involves. They do the heavy lifting for you and avoid easily made mistakes.

We know that client service is extremely important to our clients, so it is therefore important to us! We are here to advise and assist you during this difficult time for you and your family. Communication and considered decision making is vital in allowing rhw to delivering the best service to you.

Who to speak to?

e-mail the team at family@rhw.co.uk or call rhw divorce solicitors in Guildford, Surrey on 01483 302000

Want to contact a member of the team directly? Elizabeth Leah, Clare McNeill, Richard Middlehurst and Lauren Moir 

If you wish to arrange a meeting or a call back you can contact Michelle Davies or Tracey Dowling who work on the secretarial and support side of the team or call 01483 302000

rhw offer a fixed fee first meeting (of up to an hour) of £125.00 plus VAT.

rhw’s £125.00 (plus VAT) set fee initial consultation meeting goes well beyond the norm.  We take very detailed instructions about all aspects of your current situation and case. We want you to ask us questions and lose the uncertainty and fears about how to proceed.

What we discuss will provide the basis as to the options open to you, the probable final outcomes and the legal advice we provide.

We also give you a detailed and substantial written report laying out all of the information provided and the legal advice we have provided.  You will then have a full range of material on which to confidently base future decisions.

What a recent client says about rhw’s service and support:

“Thank you so very much for all your brilliant help with my situation. I am extremely grateful to you for all your work carried out on my behalf. I am in a good situation now because of what you have been able to achieve for me.  I know you will be going on to help others go through difficult times and I wish you every success.”

High Net Worth Divorce

Please see our separate page on this area that we specialise in. This can be found here.

Mental Health During a Divorce

Divorce and separation are the second biggest causes of mental health issues in the UK behind the death of a close family member or friend.

Whereas bereavement usually has built-in structures surrounding it to help the bereaved, as well as support from friends and family, the impacts of relationship breakdown and divorce can end up leaving those involved isolated and lacking routes for support with mental and physical health issues.

What are the possible mental health effects of Divorce?

Studies have repeatedly shown that divorce is associated with long-term impacts on health and negative impacts on psychological well-being. Up to half of those going through divorce report symptoms of very high stress and/or depression. It can take 18 months or more to recover from the full impact of a divorce. There is a useful guide to the symptoms of depression.

See a link at the bottom of  the page to a contact who can help you further.

‘Surrey Hypnotherapy offer clients a combination of psychotherapy techniques and hypnosis. The psychotherapy in itself is extremely beneficial and helps you to address underlying issues.’

rhw are happy to refer a client to Teba directly or, if you prefer, you can visit her website below and make contact yourself. Please mention rhw Solicitors when contacting Teba.


Meet the Family Law Team

Clare McNeill

Clare McNeill

Associate Solicitor
Michelle Davies

Michelle Davies

Legal Secretary
Richard Middlehurst

Richard Middlehurst

Associate Solicitor
Lauren Moir

Lauren Moir

Hannah Gibbons

Hannah Gibbons

Trainee Solicitor
Your Support Network
On Mental Health

If you are having issues with mental health due to pressures connected with your domestic situation, then rhw can help.

At rhw we aim to provide a fully comprehensive service for our clients. As well as the legal advice and support from our own staff, we have carefully selected independent financial experts we can introduce you to should you need their help.

We also take the mental health welfare of our clients extremely seriously. To this end we have teamed up with Teba Martin-Lopez of Surrey Psychotherapy who offers a range of psychological support that assists our clients with the stress and mental health symptoms they may be experiencing during and after a divorce.

‘Surrey Hypnotherapy offer clients a combination of psychotherapy techniques and hypnosis. The psychotherapy in itself is extremely beneficial and helps you to address underlying issues.’

We are happy to refer a client to Teba directly or, if you prefer, you can visit her website below and make contact yourself. Please mention rhw Solicitors when contacting Teba.


With regard to Finance

If you require independent financial advice, then rhw can introduce you to a number of local IFA’s who can guide you towards the right decisions when your circumstances are changing.

This service does not financially benefit rhw in any way. We look to provide a full range of support services to our clients when and where we can.

On other Issues

rhw’s team understands that the legal system and terminology used can be confusing for the lay-person. If you have questions with regard to other family law matters or any other area of legal support, rhw can either help directly or point you in the right direction.

Sometimes it is just someone to talk to that can help! We are here for our clients.

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