Find a Solicitor for your

Contested Divorce

Hassle-free help from the UK's best divorce solicitors.
In the last year, we helped 2,282 people across the UK solve their legal issues
Great Interaction
Great interaction. I had a simple question which would have cost a fortune going to see a local solicitor. It was all very professional but still friendly. The solicitor I spoke to was the chief executive of her law firm (I looked her up on LinkedIn). You are dealing with very good lawyers who earn additional money through Lawhive. I would definitely use this service again. Highly recommend.
Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
Great Interaction
Great interaction. I had a simple question which would have cost a fortune going to see a local solicitor. It was all very professional but still friendly. The solicitor I spoke to was the chief executive of her law firm (I looked her up on LinkedIn). You are dealing with very good lawyers who earn additional money through Lawhive. I would definitely use this service again. Highly recommend.
Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
Rated 4.8 / 5. Showing our 4 & 5 star reviews.

About

A Contested Divorce is a divorce in which the parties disagree on one or more issues. These issues may include child custody, child support, spousal support, or division of property. Solicitors can help ensure that the divorce is handled in a fair and efficient manner.Next steps

How much does a Contested Divorce cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with a Contested Divorce is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £150-£200 but in some cases it could cost as much as £250.

Money-back guarantee

If you're not satisfied, contact us for a full refund, no questions asked.

Transparent fixed-fees

No hidden fees. On average 40% cheaper than high street firms.

Expert legal help

We assign the best fully regulated UK based solicitors to your case.

Get your free case evaluation now

Tell us about your case and we'll assess your legal matter for free.

Contested Divorce Lawyers

In April 2022, no-fault divorce became law in the UK.

This means that an individual seeking a divorce no longer has to prove fault to apply for divorce, but merely that the relationship has broken down beyond repair.

Because of this, it is now only possible to dispute a divorce in rare circumstances. Under the current no-fault divorce rules, respondents don’t have the option to contest a divorce but can dispute the application.

Contested divorces in the United Kingdom are extremely rare. Statistics show that less than 1% of divorcing couples contest the divorce petition.

If you do find yourself in this situation, our network of contested divorce solicitors can help you in this time of great upheaval.

Contact us today for a free case assessment.

What is a contested divorce? 

A contested divorce is a divorce in which the parties disagree on one or more issues. These issues may include child custody, child support, spousal support, or division of property. Solicitors can help ensure that the divorce is handled fairly and efficiently.

The divorce process is begun by one party filing a divorce petition with the courts. The other party then can respond by filling an acknowledgment of service, when they can’t agree on all issues the case becomes a contested divorce.

How does a contested divorce differ from an uncontested divorce?

The majority of divorces are uncontested. This makes the process of divorce quicker and cheaper. Most divorces are not long drawn-out affairs with acrimonious court proceedings, unlike film and television would have it. Most uncontested divorces don’t require couples to make any court appearances. 

Uncontested divorces cost less than contested divorces, take less time, and are more common, even when contested divorces are still possible. 

What are the grounds for a contested divorce?

The grounds for contesting a divorce in the UK are few and can only be called on under exceptional circumstances:

  • Jurisdiction – if you or your partner lives abroad, you won’t be in the jurisdiction of England and Wales and the court may not be able to handle your application

  • Prove that the marriage was not valid – the marriage was not conducted under the marriage laws in which you got married

  • The marriage has already ended – this could be the case if you have been through divorce proceedings in another country 

To contest a divorce a party has 14 days to apply from receiving the acknowledgment of service that is filed with the petition, you’ll have to state that you wish to contest the divorce and why in your response.

What happens when a divorce gets contested?

In contested divorce cases, the respondent has to detail the reasons why they are defending the divorce. 

Both parties will have to provide evidence to back up their position. Once this has taken place, a judge will determine whether the spouse who applied for the divorce is legally entitled to it.

How long does a contested divorce take?

It takes a minimum of 26 weeks to get divorced in the UK.

This is because of the 6-week cooling-off period. Most divorces take anywhere up to a year to be processed. In a contested divorce it may take longer.

Do I need a solicitor for a contested divorce?

There’s no legal requirement to have a solicitor in a contested divorce. However, there are many reasons why you might consider hiring a solicitor if you are going through a contested divorce and cannot agree on things like money, property, and child custody. 

Going through a contested divorce without a solicitor will be cheaper in the short term, however over time the savings you make by not appointing a solicitor will be outweighed by the losses you experience from an unfavourable divorce. 

How is child custody decided in a contested divorce?

A divorce ends your marriage contract, it doesn’t determine what will happen to your children or specify childcare arrangements. 

You have to try to decide for yourself initially. If you can't reach an agreement the court will make a judgement. 

Courts typically encourage contact with both parents. They will consider various factors when determining which parent to grant custody to including who the primary caregiver has been in your child’s life, the stability of each parent’s home, and the child’s specific needs.

Using Lawhive

Transparent fixed-fees

Know exactly what you will pay. On average 1/3 of the cost of a high street firm

Hassle-free

Receive a custom quote in as little as 5 minutes. No hassle, no obligation.

Conveniently online

Follow your case from the comfort of your home with our online platform.

Brilliant support

Our world-class support will be with you every step of the way.
Traditional Law Firms

Pay by the hour

Hourly charges mean costs are hard to predict and you could be charged more than you expect.

Frustrating

It can be take days or weeks to hear updates from your solicitor.

Outdated and offline

Offline and slow procedures will require you to visit firms in-person.

No support

No dedicated support team. You'll have to deal with issues on your own.

How are finances decided in a contested divorce?

In an ideal world, you and your spouse will be able to negotiate your finances and discuss a settlement between you. It is advantageous to instruct a family law solicitor to ensure you can agree on a settlement that doesn’t disadvantage you.

If you cannot agree and need help reaching a financial agreement your options will include negotiation with solicitors, mediation, collaborative family law, or arbitration. 

These options allow you and your partner to maintain control over what will happen to your finances. 

When the divorce is too acrimonious negotiation may not be possible and you will need to make an application for a financial order from the courts, this gives a judge the power to decide on your behalf after considering all the facts of your case.

Is mediation required in a contested divorce?

Mediation is essential in divorce proceedings in the UK if you want to take legal action, such as asking the court to make a financial order, unless you have an exception. 

To be able to proceed to an application for a financial order you need to submit proof to the courts that you have attempted mediation, and at least attended an initial Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

If you have an exemption, this will need to be proved before legal proceedings can be started.

Can I contest a divorce if I don’t want it to happen?

Since 2022, it is no longer possible to contest a divorce simply because you don’t want it to happen. If you or your spouse don’t want the divorce to go ahead, neither you or them can prevent it from happening. This is because no-fault divorces no longer apply.

A court will grant a divorce as long as a partner can prove that the relationship is beyond fixing, it was a legal marriage and it falls within their jurisdiction

We’ve listed the only exceptions to this above.

What if my spouse refuses to respond to the divorce petition?

You have several options if your spouse refuses to respond to the divorce petition. 

You can serve the petition using a court bailiff or process server. By having the petition served directly to your spouse you can ensure they receive the petition personally. 

Applying to the court for deemed service is an option if you think that your spouse has received the petition, but is deciding not to respond.

Deemed service when accepted by the court means that they accept that your spouse has been served with the application, but hasn’t acknowledged receipt or responded.

How can I protect my interests during a contested divorce? 

It is important to guard your interests during a contested divorce. You can consult with a family law solicitor who can advise you using their experience in divorce law. A divorce lawyer will assess your case and assess whether it will be possible to contest your divorce and guide you through the process while protecting your interests.

You must make a full and frank financial disclosure. You cannot hide or transfer your assets. If caught in the act the courts can impose penalties on those who have been found to have broken the rules. Transferring assets to avoid division can lead to penalties and a court order to pay your spouse’s legal fees.

Experienced family solicitors can help you locate hidden assets and act against your spouse if they fail to make full financial disclosure. 

What are interim orders in a contested divorce?

Interim orders relate to decisions made by the court during divorce proceedings. They address the immediate needs of both spouses and protect their interests and those of their children. 

They are used as temporary solutions until the divorce decree is issued. 

There are different types of interim orders, including:

  • Child custody – the court sets temporary custody arrangements and visitation schedules

  • Spousal support – otherwise known as alimony this is when the court orders spousal payments

  • Child support – interim orders can set child support payments during contested divorce proceedings

  • Use of marital home – courts can determine who can stay in the family home

  • Legal costs – interim orders can address the legal fees accrued during a divorce

Can I appeal a court decision in a contested divorce?

You have the right to appeal a judge’s decision during divorce proceedings. In family law, you have 7 days to appeal from the date of the decision, if there isn’t a time limit set by the judge. 

You can’t appeal a decision only because you disagree with it. You must have proper legal grounds which include mistakes and procedural errors made by the courts.

You may need to ask the judge for permission to appeal unless this was already granted during your hearing. The judge will grant permission if they think the appeal has a chance of succeeding. 

You will need to decide which part of the judgement to appeal, file a notice of appeal, and then complete an appellate brief before awaiting the court’s decision.

How can Lawhive help?

Our network of contested divorce solicitors can help you dispute a divorce and defend against a claim for a disputed divorce. 

We’ll stand by your side in this difficult time and help you achieve the outcomes you’re hoping for.

Our lawyers are compassionate and will treat your case with the care you deserve. Get in touch with us today to discuss your situation in a free case assessment.

Money-back Guarantee
Get a quote now

We pride ourselves on helping consumers and small businesses get greater access to their legal rights.

Lawhive is your gateway to affordable, fast legal help in the UK. Lawhive uses licensed solicitors you can connect with online for up to 50% of the cost of a high-street law firm.

Lawhive Ltd is not a law firm and does not provide any legal advice. Our network includes our affiliate company, Lawhive Legal Ltd. Lawhive Legal Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with ID number 8003766 and is a company registered in England & Wales, Company No. 14651095.

For information on how to make a complaint about an experience you have had with our SRA regulated affiliate company Lawhive Legal Ltd click here.

Lawhive Legal Ltd is a separate company from Lawhive Ltd. Please read our Terms for more information.

© 2024 Lawhive
86-90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE

Version: 69de4d1