Reasons for Divorce
The Law of England and Wales determines that you must satisfy the Court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. This means that you need to convince the Court that your marriage cannot be saved.
To seek a divorce, you will need to refer to one of the following ‘facts’ (“Reasons for divorce”) in your application for divorce:-
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years’ separation with the other person’s consent
- Five years’ separation (with or without the other person’s consent)
Although the green light has recently been given for “no fault” divorce legislation, new legislation is still awaited so only facts 1 to 5 above can be used in a divorce application.
There are specific conditions that apply to each of the above. For this reason, it is always advisable to seek legal advice before you apply for a divorce.
Petitioning for Divorce
If you are applying for a divorce, you will be known as the Petitioner throughout the divorce process and your spouse will be known as the “Respondent”. If a third party is named in a divorce based on Adultery, that person will be known as the “Co-Respondent”. The Petitioner submits an Application for divorce to the Court. Following issue of the proceedings, the Court will send a copy of the divorce papers directly to the Respondent.
When the Court sends a copy of the divorce papers to the Respondent, they will also send them an “Acknowledgment of service form”. This form should be completed by the Respondent to confirm that they have received the divorce papers and they should do this within 7 days of receipt of the divorce papers.
In some divorce cases, the Respondent may refuse to complete the Acknowledgment of Service form and steps may have to be taken to serve them personally with a copy of the divorce papers. The Respondent may also decide to contest the divorce (also known as defending the divorce).
An application for divorce can be made online. If you choose not to appoint a Solicitor to assist you, you can make the application yourself via the following link Apply for a divorce – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced?
The online divorce process is proving to be very efficient and far more effective than the previous paper application process. Provided the online application is straightforward and both parties co-operate with the process and in a timely manner, the divorce could be concluded within 4 months. You should note that, once Decree Nisi has been pronounced, there is a 6 week and 1 day wait before the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute to bring the divorce proceedings to an end.
If there are financial issues arising from the separation, the divorce process from start to finish may be much longer and the application for “Decree Absolute” (the final step in the divorce process) could be delayed until the financial matters have been resolved. You should note that Decree Absolute does NOT terminate financial claims so if you are looking to resolve the financial issues, the door is not closed on your financial claims just because Decree Absolute may have already been pronounced.
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