In England and Wales once you have been married for 1 year you will be entitled to petition for divorce, provided you can prove to the court that your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’.
In order to prove to the court that your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ your petition will be based on one of 5 ‘facts’. These are:
The other person has committed adultery and you can no longer be expected to live with them. It is important to note that you will not be able to use this ‘fact’ if you have continued to live with the other party for 6 months after you became aware of the adultery.
The other person has behaved so unreasonably that you can no longer live with them.
2 years separation with desertion. The other party must have ‘deserted’ you and you do not have any contact with them and you had not decided to separate prior to their ‘desertion’.
2 years separation with consent. The other party must consent to the divorce for it to proceed.
5 years separation. The other party does not need to consent to the divorce proceeding.
Once your divorce petition has been issued you will become the ‘Petitioner’ and the other side will become the ‘Respondent’.
Your divorce petition will be sent directly from the court to the Respondent. The Respondent will have 7 days to complete and return to the court a form called an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ to confirm whether they intend to defend the divorce or not.
Once this is received, the next step is to apply for your Decree Nisi. This is the first time the Judge will look at the papers of your case and will decide if you are entitled to a divorce. If the Judge considers that you are entitled to a divorce, then the court will issue a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree and provide a date when your Decree Nisi will be pronounced at court. There is usually no need for you to attend court on this date, unless the court has asked you to attend, this is purely procedural.
6 weeks and 1 day after the pronouncement of your Decree Nisi you are able to apply for your Decree Absolute to finalise your divorce.
It is important to note that if there are no financial or children issues to be resolved within your divorce proceedings then your divorce should be a paperwork exercise and there is usually no need for you to attend court.
Please note that the same procedure is followed to dissolve a Civil Partnership as the Divorce procedure.
We will carefully explain the legal principles, the ways to limits costs and what we believe the best resolution for you is to any dispute. We aim to keep our advice simple, practical and cost effective.
Please call us for initial free legal advice on our 24 hour Advice Line 0800 526368
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