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
The person applying for the divorce is known as the “Petitioner” throughout the divorce process and the other party is 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 sends 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 papers.
In some divorce cases, the Respondent refuses 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).
How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced?
The divorce process generally takes between 4 to 6 months from start to finish, although if the Court is particularly busy the process can take longer. Furthermore, whilst we continue to be in the grip of a pandemic, the Courts are trying to process divorce applications with fewer staff.
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.
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