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Divorce, Separation & Finances

Our team of expert family lawyers know that the decision to separate or divorce is a difficult one and that appointing a solicitor who will be a true advocate for you throughout the process is essential.


The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has reformed the law in England and Wales on Divorce, Dissolution and Separation. No longer will divorcing or separating couples need to apportion ‘blame’ i.e. adultery, unreasonable behaviour or separation.

The only ground for Divorce will be that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there will be very limited grounds for contesting the Divorce. The new act will enable either an individual or in appropriate cases, a couple together to apply jointly for a Divorce.

Once a petition has been issued, the Act introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings until the application for a conditional order (formerly known as Decree Nisi) and thereafter a period of 6 weeks and 1 day before applying for the final order in Divorces.

Whether divorcing or separating, it is still crucial for parties to receive advice as to what will happen with regards to the financial aspects, which are often overlooked, as well as children arrangements.

Fixed Fee Divorce

In view of these changes, we are pleased to be able to offer our clients a fixed fee divorce which covers the making of the divorce application.* Our fixed fee for this service is £350 plus VAT. In addition to this fee, you will be responsible for the Court fee, which is £593.

Clients need to be aware that the fixed fee divorce service will progress through to the Final Order (previously called the Decree Absolute), resulting in divorce, however, unless a financial settlement is reached between both parties, and a Financial Order from the Court obtained, you and your former spouse will remain financially linked. Without a Court approved, final and binding Order, the door is left open for a former spouse to make a claim against you and your assets in the future.

It is therefore imperative that you seek legal advice to understand and consider your position and the impact divorce will have on you and your assets. Please see the Financial Aspects section below for further details.

*Unless there are jurisdictional issues, service issues, or the divorce becomes defended.


If you have decided to separate but have not yet reached any final decision about the marriage or divorce, we can advise on a Deed of Separation and more importantly whether that is appropriate in your circumstances. We can also advise you on any implications there may be if you decide to divorce in the future.

Financial aspects

Regardless of whether there is dispute over any financial aspects, even if you are in agreement, it is essential to ensure that you receive appropriate advice and the correct procedure is followed in order to reach an outcome that binds you both.

Both parties are expected to be open, transparent, honest, and must provide full details of their respective financial situation. Without this, it is impossible to negotiate, mediate or come to any agreement. Putting together this financial information whether for negotiation or court process needs experienced guidance to ensure all relevant issues are covered.

Even when you agree, it is still crucial that the agreement you have reached is approved by the Court. To be final and binding this must be within a divorce and not a separation. If not, it is considered “open ended” and can lead to future applications and challenges being made against your assets. Even where matters seem relatively straightforward, or there are no significant assets, it is still crucial to ensure that the process is followed correctly.

Some cases may become more acrimonious. Disputes may arise regarding assets being in your partner’s name which can potentially lead to the sale or disposal of an asset, putting your financial position at risk.

We can provide emergency advice on the protections you can put in place and in situations where the Court becomes involved, guide you through the process, including the factors that a Court will consider and those it will not.

Speak to our experts

For a FREE initial consultation with our expert Family Lawyers, simply complete the form on this page, call 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk.

Why choose us for your Divorce? Because we are:


Our team has in excess of 90 years’ experience of helping, supporting and advising clients, achieving the best possible solutions for them and their children.


Members of our team are trained collaborative lawyers and mediators. This specialist knowledge enables us to deal with your family issue in a sensitive, constructive and cost-efficient way.


We understand the emotional turmoil and distress that separation and divorce can create. Our promise to you is that we will be by your side, supporting you at every stage, assisting, advising and providing solutions for you and your family.

Who will work on your Divorce matter?

A fully qualified lawyer. Your matter will either be handled or supervised by a solicitor with at least 20 years’ experience in this area of work.

Some areas of work may be supported by our Paralegal team.

Administrative duties will be undertaken by our support staff.

As Head of Department, Brenda Spain has overall responsibility for the supervision of all work carried out by her team.

Our Family Law Department

Brenda Spain

Brenda Spain

Solicitor | Director | Head of Family Law and Litigation Teams
Family Law and Litigation Teams
Qualified 1987
Additional Qualifications: Member of Law Society Family Law Panel, Qualified Mediator

Hello, I joined Cullimore Dutton in 2019 to take up the position as Head of the Family Law team.

I have been qualified for over 30 years having previously practiced in Worcestershire in a tier one Family Law team. I have considerable experience of dealing with all aspects of family disputes, with particular expertise in:

  • Divorce/separation and finances; particularly those cases involving Businesses, Pensions (NHS, Police, Armed Forces), Farms and Inheritance etc
  • Private children disputes including internal and international relocation
  • Cohabitation disputes
  • Pre and post nuptial agreements
  • Civil partnership disputes
  • Domestic abuse cases

I am also a qualified mediator, a member of the Law Society Family Panel and a member of Resolution.

I appreciate that relationship breakdowns can be a very difficult and overwhelming experience for many. This is where strong support, guidance and understanding is required.

I work extremely hard for clients to resolve matters in a clear, down to earth, professional and approachable way. I am always prepared to go that extra mile to help our clients achieve the best outcome for them and their children whether through the negotiation process or the Court process if Court Proceedings become necessary.

I was recently appointed as Cullimore Dutton’s Training Principal and am delighted to be able to mentor and support colleagues who are entering the legal profession.

I am proud to head a team of very talented lawyers, aspiring lawyers and assistants.

Away from work I enjoy spending time with family and friends and being outdoors with my Labradors. I enjoy sports, music and getting involved in charitable events and good causes.

Susan Alexander

Susan Alexander

Consultant Solicitor
Family Law Team
Qualified 1981 (Scotland), 1994 (England & Wales)
Additional Qualifications: Collaborative law practitioner, Child inclusive mediator, FMCA accredited mediator

Hello. I joined the firm as a Consultant Solicitor and Family Mediator in May 2016. I am an accredited family law specialist with over 35 years of experience as a family lawyer dealing with all aspects of Family Law, including divorce, separation, children and financial issues, cohabitation disputes and preparation of pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation deeds.  

I am a fully accredited Family Mediator and provide Child Inclusive Mediation. I practise collaborative law where couples sit round the table with specially trained lawyers to help them reach solutions which are best for them and their children. I promote the benefits to separating couples and their children of having a dialogue together in a safe and supported environment to make decisions that need to be made about money and property and child care arrangements.  

Divorce is not easy nor is it easy to sit down together and talk about how assets should be shared or how child arrangements should be worked out when emotions are running high. Using Family Mediation and Collaborative Law usually means that agreements are reached more quickly and the uncertainty (and costs) of court proceedings are avoided.  

I am an experienced litigator in cases that cannot be resolved by mediation or collaborative law. I take pride in being thought of as an efficient, hardworking yet approachable and supportive solicitor who helps people through a very difficult time. 

My expertise is in: 

  • Family Mediation including child inclusive mediation  
  • Collaborative family law 
  • All aspects of divorce and separation including financial and children issues 
  • Pre and post nuptial agreements 
  • Cohabitation agreements  
  • Cohabitee disputes 
  • Resolution accredited Family Law specialist  

Away from my desk I like to go to the gym and the lawyer’s fit club, I play bridge and I sing in the Rock Choir. I love socialising with my friends and family. I am also involved in organising events for charity. 

Kelly Hughes

Kelly Hughes​

Associate Solicitor
Family Law Team
Qualified 2009

Hello, I joined the Family Law team at Cullimore Dutton in December 2022 having worked in the Cheshire legal sector for over 13 years. I specialise in all aspects of family law, and have a keen interest in financial matters on divorce and children disputes.

I consider myself to be extremely empathetic and can relate to the challenges clients face having been through divorce myself. I fully understand the difficulties clients face in adjusting to their “new normal” whilst navigating the divorce process, dealing with financial matters and adjusting to co-parenting.

I am a friendly, approachable and down to earth lawyer, and I pride myself on being able to explain the law and legal processes to my clients in a clear and straightforward way.

Outside of the office, I’m a keen aerialist (a person who performs acrobatics high above the ground), a fair-weather runner and I enjoy spending time with my children and our family dog.

Georgina Roberts

Wills & Probate Team
Qualified 2013
Additional Qualifications: Full member of Solicitors for the Elderly

Hello. I joined Cullimore Dutton in September 2023 where I am part of the Wills, Trusts, and Estates team.

I grew up in West Kirby on the Wirral and completed my Law Degree and Legal Practice Course at the University of Sheffield.

I was really excited to join Cullimore Dutton and I’m enjoying getting to know the rest of the team and the clients – everyone has been so welcoming so far.

Private Client is an interesting area of the law and I really enjoy helping people at what can sometimes be a difficult and stressful time of their lives. I’m also a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, which means I’m trained to work with older and more vulnerable clients.

Outside of work, I love eating out with my husband and I try to go running three times a week in order to counter this!  I also enjoy spending time with friends and my two cats.

I specialise in all aspects of Private Client work and have expertise in:

  • The creation of Wills
  • Trusts and inheritance tax planning
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Administration of Estates
  • Court of Protection work

Thank you so much for your support and everything you have done for me during this really stressful time. I am so very grateful.

Cullimore Dutton Family Law client

Thank you for all your help and advice. I don’t think I could have managed it without you, you kept me on the right path.

Cullimore Dutton Family Law client