Tom Fisher, solicitor and a collaborative lawyer based at Jackson Lees’ Heswall office, provides answers to questions he is regularly asked by his clients about divorce.

How do I start a divorce?

You can start a divorce as long as you have been married for at least one year.  A divorce petition is prepared, submitted to the court and then the other party receives an acknowledgement form.  The next stage is decree nisi, which is the first decree within divorce proceedings which basically means a ‘certificate of nearly there’.  You must wait six weeks and one day before applying for the decree absolute, the final certificate within divorce proceedings.  Once this is granted by the court the marriage is officially dissolved.

Do I need a lawyer?

Theoretically, no. But family proceedings can be difficult, stressful and emotional and it can be hard to represent yourself.

Lawyer’s fees are naturally a worry, but the risk is that in saving legal costs, you may lose out in the long run.  Talk to your solicitor about costs at the outset.  You should make sure that your lawyer is a specialist in family cases and preferably a member of Resolution and/or collaborative law panels.

Wirral Globe:

What am I entitled to?

The court can make a wide range of financial orders both for the parties and the children.

No two cases are ever the same and a 50/50 split is not always appropriate.  It is also important to see what is financially at stake, to check that all of the assets and income have been disclosed and that valuations are accurate.

When considering the financial issues, the courts are guided by a number of factors including:

  • the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which either of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
  • the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities
  • standard of living
  • the age of each party and the length of the marriage
  • the health of each party
  • contributions (financial and non-financial)
  • conduct
  • loss of pension rights.


It is important that specialist legal advice is obtained to consider these points so that the financial outcome is both fair and reasonable.

Since lockdown began, we have remained very much open for business virtually and continue to handle all client cases and new enquiries as if we were in the office. We are able to offer telephone consultations, and, where practical, video meetings.
If you would like to talk to one of our specialist family law advisers, please call us free on 0808 271 5266 (also free to call from mobiles) or email or visit our website