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Family Law

Divorce Solicitors

Catteralls Family Law Solicitors have a wealth of experience and expertise in all areas of divorce including separation, child matters, financial settlements, pension sharing, asset discovery/protection and property ownership.

Plus, we are proud members of The Law Society’s Family Law Accreditation.

We offer a fixed fee initial consultation for the sum of £153 (including VAT), where we will take the time to find out what your circumstances are so that we can give the best possible advice for your individual situation.

We will provide you with an efficient service that minimises delay, resulting in a more cost-effective process for you.

To book your appointment please email Rebecca Baker or call us 01924 291122.

How do I start divorce proceedings?

A divorce can be started provided you have been married for at least one year. A divorce petition is prepared and submitted to the court. The other party then receives an acknowledgment form. You can then proceed to the Conditional Order stage (formally Decree Nisi) and, after waiting six weeks and one day, you can then apply for the Final Divorce Order (formally Decree Absolute).

In order for you to obtain a divorce, we will guide you through the procedure on the basis your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

There are some circumstances when it may be appropriate to avoid applying for a final divorce order, particularly if your spouse has a pension.

If you are considering divorce we will help you complete the paperwork. Initially you will need to produce your original marriage certificate or a certified copy available from your place of marriage for a small fee.

There will be a court fee payable of £593 when your petition is issued, provided your case remains straight forward, we can offer a fixed fee of £440 plus VAT.

Alternatively, you can start the process yourself via the HMCTS online portal on the .Gov website.

However, if your case is more complex, we will work with you to agree what is best for your circumstances based on our hourly rates.

What if I don’t want a divorce?

If you don’t want to divorce, then a Judicial Separation may be more suitable for you.

It is similar to a divorce in that you have to apply to a court but it does not end the marriage. This option also allows you to apply for financial support.

Finances on Divorce

If you do decide to proceed with a divorce or you just wish to separate then it will be crucial to consider how this will affect you financially.  However, these issues need to be resolved taking into account your individual circumstances and the law.

Case law has established that assets should be divided equally between parties wherever possible.  However, there are circumstances when the Court can be persuaded otherwise. Catteralls’ team of family law solicitors are experienced to be able to advise you about financial issues and the best approach to suit your own needs.  We are also equipped to guide you through the Court process should this become necessary.

The best way to resolve the financial aspect of the divorce is for both of you to provide full details of your financial circumstances, supported by documentary evidence, and to come to an agreement concerning financial matters.  The information you need to disclose is as follows:-

  • P60 for last financial year;
  • Last three months wage slips;
  • Business accounts for the last 2 financial year, if you run your own business;
  • Mortgage redemption statement;
  • Current surrender value for any endowment or other policies;
  • CETV (cash equivalent transfer value) for all pensions;
  • Documentary evidence regarding all debts and loans;
  • Copy bank statements for last twelve months for all accounts held;
  • Documentary evidence of any other savings or investments.

After an agreement is reached, it can then be confirmed by a Court Order known as a Consent Order making it final and binding. The procedure for obtaining such an order is very simple. It is simply a matter of sending some agreed paperwork to the Court which then makes the order without anyone having to attend.

Spousal Maintenance

In some cases it is appropriate for one spouse to pay maintenance to the other, particularly if there has been a long marriage or there is a large difference between your respective incomes. In those circumstances maintenance can be payable until either party dies or sometimes for a limited period, with an option for it to be extended at a later date. The Court may also consider it is appropriate to capitalise maintenance.  This would mean that the Court may order one party to pay a lump sum in lieu of maintenance so that the receiving party can invest the capital and receive an income from it in the future.

The level of maintenance payable depends on your individual circumstances. In any event the Court will always consider whether or not a maintenance order should be made at all.

Clean break

The Court is under a duty to consider a clean break in every case.  A clean break is an order which prevents either party returning in the future to make a claim against the other party in relation to their income, assets or pension entitlement. Even if there are no assets, a clean break order is usually advised.


It will be necessary for the Court to consider each party’s pension entitlement and how this should be divided. This area of law is very complicated and requires careful consideration within the context of the other assets of the marriage. It is often necessary to consult an independent expert known as an Actuary if the pensions are valuable.  The Court is able to deal with the pension using various methods.  They include the following:

  • Pension sharing

One party’s pension fund can be split to enable the other party to receive whatever percentage can be agreed or what the Court feels is appropriate.  This percentage is then transferred into the recipients own pension fund, either within the existing scheme or to another scheme.

  • Attachment

This method is rarely used but is a method whereby one party can claim a percentage of the other party’s pension upon their retirement.  This can be unpopular as should you successfully obtain a percentage you would no longer be entitled to receive it, should your spouse die.

  • Offsetting

This is often used where there are smaller pension funds.  Often, it can be agreed one party will receive a larger share of the capital assets to compensate them for the difference in the respective pension funds.

Separation & Mediation

Separation mediation services are there to support the many separating couples who would like to come to an agreement about their children or financial affairs, but find it difficult to do this constructively between themselves. Family mediation can often be the solution to this problem and is often an excellent alternative to Court proceedings.

How does family mediation work?

Mediation is a voluntary process which the Courts actively encourage.  You and your partner meet, together with a family mediator, to discuss the issues between you.

The mediation service encourages dialogue, helps to clarify issues and explore all the options available to you.  If an agreement can be reached, this can be recorded in a document which is not legally binding, although it can later be made legally binding if you wish.

Even though family mediation does not involve the Courts, it is conducted within the framework of the law and therefore you and your partner are both expected to provide full details of your financial circumstances, supported by documentary evidence, when dealing with your financial affairs. Mediation can also be used to find a solution to issues that arise in relation to your children.

The process of mediation usually begins with the mediator speaking to both parties and arranging appointments for mediation to ensure that everyone involved understands the process.   A meeting normally takes place separately to determine whether mediation is appropriate and, if it is not, a form will be issued to allow either party to start court proceedings if they wish.

If your case is suitable for family mediation, we will make the appropriate referral to local practitioners who have a great deal of experience in resolving problems via the mediation process.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a formal agreement that couples enter into before getting married to specify how their finances and assets will be divided should the marriage break down. Such an agreement is unenforceable in the English Courts as it is their policy not to recognise them in the interest of protecting the party in the weakest position, either financially or otherwise. However, you may still choose to enter into an agreement as it may carry some weight with the Court in the event of your separation as it shows evidence of your long term intention when entering into a marriage.

If your marriage does break down you need to make sure that the prenuptial agreement you have in place will carry as much weight as possible with the Court. This means that the terms of the agreement should be implemented when certain criteria are met. Some such criteria include that the court must, at the time of the separation, be in a position to find that:

  • The agreement was entered into freely, voluntarily and without undue pressure.
  • Both you and your partner fully appreciated its implications and offered full disclosure of all relevant information supported by documentary evidence prior to entering the agreement.
  • Both you and your partner obtained independent financial advice and intended the agreement to be effective and to govern the financial implications of divorce.
  • It would be fair to hold the parties to the agreement at the time of the divorce.

It is important to bear in mind that should the marriage break down, you would be able to produce the prenuptial agreement as evidence of intentions before the marriage. However, should the marriage last a long time or you subsequently have children, the prenuptial agreement is unlikely to be upheld.


If your relationship is breaking down you may feel like you have no other options other than to divorce. At such times it is difficult to make any hard and fast decisions about the future and it may be worthwhile to consider, as an alternative to a divorce, the drafting of a Separation Deed, Catteralls have a great deal of experience in this area and will help you enter into a Separation Deed.

What is a Separation Deed?

A Separation Deed is a document which sets out an agreement made between both parties, this can address a number of issues such as custody arrangements for your children, maintenance payments, the division of assets and debts, including the matrimonial home and mortgage repayments.

A Separation Deed is not a binding Court order. It is a contract between the separating couple who respectively agree to be bound by the terms of it. Therefore, if one party subsequently fails to adhere to any terms of the contact, it is for the other to enforce the contract by making an application in the County Court for breach of contract.

If after your Separation Deed is agreed, either you or the other party decide to proceed with a divorce, such an agreement could be confirmed by a Court order known as a Consent Order provided that, at the time of the Deed was entered into, both of you had the benefit of legal advice and exchanged full details of your financial circumstances, supported by documentary evidence. However, if the Deed does not reflect a fair settlement of financial issues, or one of the parties no longer agreed to the terms, the matter could possibly be reviewed again if there was, for example, a material change in their circumstances.

Talk to an Expert.

You are always our top priority, and we take pride in our commercially effective approach.

Rebecca Baker

Associate Director - Family Law Email Rebecca

Jessica Bullock

Paralegal - Family Law Email Jessica

We're here to help.

Our highly skilled team of specialist solicitors have been established in the City of Wakefield for over 100 years.

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Rebecca Baker

You can trust us to be in your corner, right when you need us.

Rachel SteadRachel Stead
13:19 26 Nov 23
Can’t recommend Catteralls enough. Eleanor, Claire and her team have just helped us with a recent house sale. They were quick and efficient with responses. Even with me ringing and emailing plenty (very annoying) but nothing was too much for them. They did all things on our side promptly and kept us in the loop at all times. Will be recommending them and using again in future if needed.Thanks so much.Rachel and Harry.
Russ TebayRuss Tebay
17:20 04 Nov 23
Good service at a reasonable price
Andrew ElsbyAndrew Elsby
07:30 16 Oct 23
Personal touch. Well organised and knowledgeable.
Allison RobinsonAllison Robinson
13:53 02 Oct 23
We used Catterall's for the sale of a property and had excellent service throughout. Everything was done promptly, efficiently and accurately. We had experienced lots of errors with a previous firm and saw a marked contrast in the quality of service and professionalism from Catteralls. Danielle and Sue were knowledgable and helpful and were able to answer questions about the errors from the purchase of the property with a different firm so that we could move forwards quickly with the sale. Prices were reasonable and competitive but I would choose the firm again regardless of price because of the experience. It is the second time we have used the firm (previously for a different purchase) and I can highly recommend them.
08:59 17 Sep 23
My wife and I engaged Catteralls Solicitors conveyancing services to both sell our old house and to buy our new house. We can thoroughly recommend their services in this regard. In particular we would like to give excellent feedback to Ms Eleanor Parkin, our Conveyancing Executive at Catteralls, who dealt with us throughout the buying and selling process. Some aspects of that process became problematic but Eleanor went above and beyond that which was expected of her and ensured that any problems were resolved effectively and efficiently to ensure a smooth completion. Our engagement with her was always friendly and professional and we would be happy to recommend her professional services to others. Thank you, Eleanor!
Caroline WilsonCaroline Wilson
13:13 25 Jul 23
Thank you Catteralls for helping us with our recent house sale!! I will certainly recommend you to family and friends.Catteralls would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again for everything. Fantastic communication, making a hard time in our lives that much easier. I can not fault a thing.☺️
22:51 17 Jun 23
I've used these for the sale of a rental property and my will and am also currently using them for a purchase of a residential property. Used them because my usual solicitors let me down. I can't comment on price because I didn't really shop around. A family member recommended them, and they've been good for me so far. Here, I've never felt like I haven't been able to speak to someone when I've needed to and they've always been on hand to explain anything I didn't understand. So far so good.
Kevin SlatteryKevin Slattery
09:53 08 Jun 23
Jenny and her team, saved the day after our sale and purchase almost fell through due to the poor performance of our previous solicitor. She was responsive, highly efficient and keep us informed throughout the whole process. We would only use Catteralls for any future conveyancing requirements. Many thanks Jenny, Sarah and the rest of the team!
14:24 09 Mar 23
Jess looked after my case. It was most helpful in that I was able to do everything via email, so all I had to do on the day was sign some paperwork, therefore only needing to make the one visit, which was perfect for me.Jess was efficient & organised and made the process a smooth one.Thanks Jess I appreciate all you did for me. 🙂
Aneka RandallAneka Randall
17:04 09 Dec 22
Paul and his team have worked on our sale and purchase. The team have all worked extremely hard, going above an beyond. Everyone in the chain has commented how efficient they have been. I will certainly recommend to family and friends and would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again.
Jade NuttJade Nutt
20:07 02 Nov 22
Jenny and her team were brilliant with our house sale and purchase. They answered all our queries, made sure we understood everything and kept things moving along. We are very great full for your hard work! Thank you!