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How to get a divorce in the UK: a guide

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Our divorce guide highlights the key aspects of the no fault divorce process to provide you with an idea of the timetable and course of action to expect. Be reassured that most divorces progress without difficulties and without the need to attend Court.

Who can start divorce proceedings?

Anyone who has been married for over one year can start divorce proceedings, providing that one or other of the couple is either domiciled in England and Wales when the divorce proceedings have begun or has been resident in England and Wales throughout the period of one year ending with that date. It is irrelevant where the couple were married.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce?

The grounds for divorce have now changed, with no-fault divorce coming into effect from April. Before, couples had to prove that the marriage had irretrievably broken down using one of the following five reasons:

1. That one party has committed adultery and as a result of such adultery the other person finds it intolerable for them to continue living together.

2. That one party has behaved in such an unreasonable manner and as a result of such unreasonable behaviour the other person finds it intolerable for them to continue living together.

3. That one party has deserted the other for a continuous period of two years or more.

4. That the parties have been living separately for two years or more and both parties agree to the divorce.

5. That the parties have been living separately for five years or more. The consent of the other party is not required.

Now however no-fault divorce is an option. This new way of divorcing removes blame and provides an easier route for both parties.

How Does the Divorce Process Work?

Stage 1: Preparing the papers - Petitioner’s responsibility (including arrangements relating to children and what is required to start divorce proceedings).

Stage 2: Starting the proceedings

Stage 3: 

(a) The divorce is being defended

(b) The divorce is being undefended

Stage 4: Applying for the decree absolute of divorce (including if you will have to attend Court at any time and how long the divorce will take).

How Long Does Divorce Take?

A typical divorce takes between four and six months. Though this can vary widely depending on a number of factors, and every divorce is different. Ultimately this is a complex process, but if both parties agree about various circumstances (such as child arrangements) then the process should be quicker.

What Are the Common Delays In A Divorce Case?

  • If one of you isn’t prepared to negotiate out of court through mediation.
  • Negotiations can add delays onto a divorce if there are disagreements.
  • The court itself may take longer to process your divorce if it is particularly busy.

How much Does Divorce Cost?

To learn more about our fixed fee divorce please click here. Otherwise the price can vary depending on if you will need to go to court or not.

Still have a question? Contact our divorce lawyers for more information.