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The breakdown of marriage is a highly emotional and stressful experience. Our expert family lawyers provide sensitive and practical advice, and use their knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of divorce. They aim to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
What is a divorce?
Divorce is the process which brings a valid marriage to an end. A valid marriage is one that takes place in England and Wales.
It must be recognised by the requirements of the Marriage Act 1949 (as amended) or if the marriage takes place abroad, the country in which the marriage took place.
Alternatives to divorce are annulment and judicial separation.
There is only one ground for divorce, namely that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be proved by one of the following facts:
The only fault-based grounds are adultery and unreasonable behaviour. It is only in exceptional circumstances that the court takes into account the grounds for divorce in relation to issues involving children and finances.
The divorce statistics published in 2020 by the ONS show that in 2019 the most common ground for divorce was unreasonable behaviour. 49% of wives and 35% of husband’s petitioned on this ground.
When can you apply for a Divorce?
You have to have been married for 12 months and 1 day before you can issue Divorce proceedings.
If you issue a petition on the anniversary of the date of your marriage, it will be rejected by the court.
How long does a Divorce take?
Most Divorce petitions are being issued online rather than on paper. If your spouse cooperates with the divorce and returns the acknowledgment of service promptly, confirming that they do not contest the divorce, then from the issue of the petition to the making of the Decree Absolute will be approximately 3 months.
We recently issued a petition on the 18th June, the Decree Nisi was declared on the 29th July and the client can apply for the Decree Absolute 6 weeks and 1 day after the Nisi.
If your spouse does not cooperate with the Divorce, then we will need to obtain a paper copy of the divorce petition and arrange for your Spouse to be personally served with a copy of the petition. Your Spouse will have 29 days to defend the petition. After that date, we can apply for the Decree Nisi, producing evidence from the court that your Spouse has been personally served with the divorce papers.
What are the grounds for divorce?
For Divorce, there is only one ground. This is an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. This needs to be supporting by one of the following 5 facts:
(a) Unreasonable behaviour (b) Adultery (c) Two years separation with consent (d) Five years separation(e) Desertion (your partner has left you for a continuous period of 2 years).
As of April 2022, there will be ‘no fault divorce’.
Most divorces will be online after April 2022. However, nullity petitions will still have to be sent on paper to the Court.
What happens to my children on divorce?
Issues with regard to children are dealt separately from the Divorce proceedings and any application with regard to children have to be made in accordance with the Children’s Act.
However, in dealing with matrimonial finances, the arrangements for children are treated as a priority by the Court.
Where the children reside might impact on how the courts divide the matrimonial finances on divorce.