Things to Consider when Getting a Divorce

Author:
James Skinner
Associate Solicitor, Family Law and Divorce
Date:
27/01/2020

Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, it’s crucial to realise that the decisions you make now, and how you deal with your divorce, can have a long lasting impact on your life and your family’s future.

To avoid ending up saying “if only I knew then what I know now” it’s best to start your divorce by talking to a Divorce Solicitor who can give you the information you need to make sure you know exactly where you stand, and what happens in the divorce process.

For example, a Decree Absolute will legally end your marriage, but it won’t deal with any of your matrimonial finances or any matters related to your children. A Divorce Solicitor can discuss your financial situation with you, offer advice on what would be a fair outcome for you and discuss the options for caring for your children after you get divorced.

For initial advice get in touch with our nationwide team of Divorce Solicitors.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

No Such Thing as a Quick Divorce

Regardless of whether you hire ten Divorce Lawyers or buy a cheap DIY divorce pack, a divorce in England or Wales will usually take six months, often longer if finances aren’t agreed or there are delays at your regional Divorce Centre, or in the Courts.   

Make Sure You Can Get Divorced

You can apply for a divorce in England and Wales if:

  • You’ve been married for more than a year
  • Your relationship with your former partner has broken down and cannot be repaired
  • You have a legally recognised marriage or civil partnership
  • Your permanent home is in the UK

If you can’t get a divorce, you could consider a legal separation or an annulment, but these are quite unusual. You may decide to simply wait until you can be divorced instead.

99% of Divorce Cases are Not Defended

Going to Court to get a divorce will cost more money and take more time.  The only time a divorce ends up in court is if one party feels the marriage has not broken down or if one party decides to answer the petition. This means that although they agree the marriage has failed, they do not accept responsibility for it.  So, while it may be very difficult, it’s best to try to put your emotions aside whilst you have important discussions about your finances and how you’ll both care for the children after you are divorced.

Mediation can be arranged to help you reach an agreement on the finances and the arrangements for your children too, which will be easier for you, your children and for your former partner in the long run.

Our Divorce Solicitors can help you to negotiate a fair divorce settlement with your former partner and help you with the separation of matrimonial assets as well as arrangements for the children.

Grounds for Divorce

There is only one ground for divorce, which is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. When you apply for a divorce, you’ll need to give one of the five ‘facts’ that show your marriage has irretrievably broken down. These are what many people mean by “grounds for divorce” and they are:

Adultery

If your spouse had sex with someone else of the opposite sex, they’ve committed adultery. It is not necessary to name the individual your spouse had sex with in the divorce petition but your spouse will have to admit the adultery took place. If you knew about this and continued living with your partner for more than six months, you cannot use adultery in your divorce.

Unreasonable Behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is defined as any behaviour that means you can’t be expected to live with your husband/wife any longer. This can include things such as:

  • Not contributing to living costs
  • Spending money recklessly
  • Lack of support
  • Lack of sex
  • Verbal abuse
  • Drunkenness
  • Domestic violence

Unreasonable behaviour covers a wide range of things and is the most commonly used fact in divorces in England and Wales.

Separation for Two Years

If you’ve been separated for least 2 years then you can use this fact in your divorce. You can still be separated if you are still living together, but you will need to show that you’ve had separate bedrooms and led separate lives for the whole two years.

To use this fact, your former partner must agree to the divorce in writing.

Separation for Five Years

Even if your former partner does not want to get a divorce, you can apply for a divorce after you’ve been separated for at least 5 years.

Desertion

Desertion is when your former partner leaves you for at least two years. This is sometimes called “abandonment” and is rarely used in divorce proceedings.

Acknowledgement of Service Form

If your former partner has started divorce proceedings and you’ve received this form from the Court, see How to Fill Out a Divorce Acknowledgement of Service Form or contact our Divorce Solicitors.

For initial advice call our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors

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