A divorce is a formal termination of a marriage.
Provided you have been married for at least one year either partner of a marriage can apply for divorce to the court in England and Wales. One party must have lived in England or Wales for at least the year previous to the divorce application. If you have married abroad and now wish to divorce then you can apply for a divorce in England/Wales but you must have been domiciled or habitually resident in England or Wales for one year to apply for a divorce.
You should also consider if there are alternatives to divorce before starting divorce proceedings. Perhaps, counselling or mediation may be of assistance to you.
Grounds for Divorce
There is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The court will need evidence proving the ground for divorce. Evidence of the breakdown has to be shown by proving one of the following:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years separation if both parties agree
- Five years separation
The evidence is set out in a document called a petition. If you file for divorce you are called the petitioner and your husband or wife is called the respondent.
We can offer you expert assistance in either filing for divorce or responding to the petition.
What happens next?
If your ex-partner does not intend to contest the divorce (defend the petition) then they will reply to the court and you will be sent a copy. If your partner does intend to defend the petition you will also be notified.
Depending on whether the petition is contested or not will determine if you have to appear in court. If the case is straightforward and a judge is happy to grant a divorce you will be be able to apply for your "decree nisi".
Divorce has two stages:
Decree Nisi - this is given by the court if they are satisfied that grounds for divorce have been established.
Decree Absolute - this makes the divorce final. At this point the divorce is irrevocable.
How long will it take?
This depends upon the complexity of the divorce and whether parties are amicable throughout the process. It if they are, then it could take between 4 to 6 months. Where agreements relating to financial matters and children are required it can take much longer.
We can offer you expert assistance in ensuring that you are offered the best advice and realistic ways of settling your divorce. We can also guide you on any financial claims you may have or need to make in relation to maintenance, the matrimonial home any other assets.
How will it be resolved?
We will guide you on the best way to ensure that everything is dealt with and this can be by way of a written agreement with the other party or a consent order which we can draft for you in conjunction with your instructions.
Do you advise on issues relating to children?
We can provide you with comprehensive assistance about maintenance, how to apply, how much you should receive and any contact issues with your ex-spouse or partner.
Please contact us for assistance and representation and our Solicitors will provide you with our expert opinion on how to proceed.