Specialist divorce lawyers

Surrey-based divorce solicitors - guiding you through your options

The divorce law in England and Wales changed on 6th April 2022 with the introduction of no-fault divorce. The new law encourages a more constructive approach to divorce with the removal of blame from the process whilst enabling separating spouses to focus on important child and financial arrangements from the very outset. The new law also applies to civil partnership dissolution and legal separation (judicial separation).

Under the old law, the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage had to be evidenced by relying on one of five facts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation and the other spouse agreeing to a divorce, five years separation or desertion. Under the new law, there is no longer a requirement to cite one of these five facts. Separating couples are now able to obtain a divorce simply by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage in the divorce application.

Here is a summary of the other main changes under the new law:

  • An application for divorce is now made online.
  • For the first time spouses can make a joint application for divorce as well as a sole application by one spouse.
  • It is no longer possible to contest a divorce which will save time and costs for many couples. Under the new law a divorce can only be disputed on grounds of jurisdiction or the validity of the marriage .
  • The divorce terminology has been updated so that the petitioner is now the applicant, the decree nisi is now the conditional order and the decree absolute is now the final order.
  • The introduction of a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings to when the conditional order can be made to give couples time for reflection.
  • The divorce process will take a minimum of 26 weeks from start to finish.

Although the new divorce law makes the process of obtaining a divorce more straightforward, it does not automatically end financial ties with your spouse. It is therefore still important to seek early legal advice particularly if you have arrangements for children and finances to formalise, all of which our experienced team of specialist divorce solicitors can assist with.

With our expertise and experience in no-fault divorces, our local divorce lawyers can guide you through the process. Our team is equipped with the knowledge and resources to handle even the most challenging of cases and we will work closely with you to achieve the best possible outcome.

For advice on the breakdown of your marriage, contact one of our specialist family and divorce solicitors based in Guildford, Godalming, Woking, Cranleigh and Cobham. Call us today, email us or contact us via live chat.

Who to contact

Sharon Powell-Head of Family

Sharon Powell

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon Powell-Head of Family

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon Powell

Sharon has over 20 years experience in all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of high value divorces. Sharon is a trained collaborative lawyer and she is particularly experienced in resolving medium to high net worth finances as well as children disputes including alienation.

She is a Resolution member and qualified in mediation and collaborative family law.

“A break up of a relationship is very sad for everyone concerned” says Sharon. “I believe that our role is to try and help both parties reach a solution which they are both happy with. When feelings are running high this can sometimes be difficult but I believe we can make a difference”.

Sharon is often thanked by her clients for her sympathetic and supportive approach through a traumatic time in their lives.

Her most memorable case was in a divorce where financial matters involving significant assets were resolved amicably yet parties persisted to argue about kitchen utensils!

Sharon qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and joined Hart Brown in 2007 becoming a partner a few months later.


    Dimple Patel

    Associate, Family Law


    Associate, Family Law

    Dimple Patel

    Dimple is an Associate Solicitor in the family law department. She qualified as a solicitor in 2007 after reading law at City University and has worked as a family solicitor in both Surrey and London. She joined Hart Brown in 2022.

    Her practice involves advising on all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of divorce and dissolution of civil partnership. She has extensive experience in negotiating financial settlements and advises clients with substantial assets including family businesses, pensions, trusts, foreign assets and inherited wealth as well as clients with more modest income and assets. She also deals with the variation and enforcement of existing financial orders.

    Dimple assists clients to protect assets and family wealth through prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She also assists cohabiting couples with cohabitation agreements, financial and property disputes as well as financial claims for children of unmarried parents under Schedule 1 Children Act.

    Dimple has considerable experience advising on arrangements for children following divorce and separation including relocation of children both within England and Wales and abroad. She also assists clients where there are concerns around domestic abuse through personal protection injunctions such as Non-Molestation and Occupations Orders.

    Dimple is a member of Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. She aims to provide practical, tailored advice to enable her clients to make informed choices with a focus on early settlement.

    Dimple often receives wonderful feedback from her clients, here are just a few testimonials.

    “Dimple is very professional and reliable. I was able to always count on her excellent advice, quick responses to my queries and sympathetic balanced communications with all parties. I would whole heartedly recommend her to anyone dealing with family legal issues”

    “Dimple quickly understood the challenges I was facing and we spoke a lot on the phone which I found helpful and calming. She is very bright, professional and warm and just the person one needs when dealing with difficult and unfamiliar issues. Dimple is committed, has good judgment and eye for detail. She is a highly competent solicitor and I highly recommend her.”

    “Thank you so much for your help, support and advice through this difficult process. I appreciate all you’ve done and look forward to a brighter future, thanks to your help”

    “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. You were so easy to work with at every stage of the game and I really appreciated having you to turn to. I still can’t believe how smoothly everything went! And the good news is, I’m genuinely finding happiness again in my life.”

    “Thank you for your assistance and support over the last few years in relation to my difficult and challenging divorce proceedings and help to conclude the child matters with the best result I could have hoped for. I appreciate all your efforts on my case. I am so happy that I am spending quality time with my son and that he is getting to know his extended paternal family. Thank you for helping to make this happen.”

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