Divorce FAQs

The process of a divorce is to end your marriage. You can only get a divorce if you have been married for over one year.

If you have been married for less than a year, you can request a legal separation, however it’s usually better to wait until you can get a divorce. In the meantime, you can get a separation agreement. This lets you agree the details of your separation before you get divorced.

In the first instance, you need to show your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. This means there is no way you can work through your problems.

The process of divorce starts when the ‘petitioner’ or applicant (either you or your spouse) files a divorce petition with the court. The applicant’s solicitor will usually complete the required documentation for this.

In the UK, there are five reasons, or grounds, for divorce:

1. Adultery – where one party has been unfaithful
2. Unreasonable behaviour – One party has behaved unreasonably
3. Desertion – your partner has left you and you’ve lived apart for at least 2 years
4. You’ve lived apart for two years and you both agree to the divorce
5. You’ve lived apart for five years – it doesn’t matter if your partner doesn’t agree to a divorce

If you have been separated for less than 2 years, you can only us adultery or unreasonable behaviour as a reason for getting a divorce.

The reasons for your divorce are not usually used against your partner when it comes to sorting financial separation or contact with children. The court does not usually take these reasons into account when making decisions.

On 6 April 2022, Divorce Law is changing. It will be on a ‘no fault’ basis, to encourage more amicable proceedings. The hope is the divorce process will become much simpler and easier for everyone involved.

The cost of a divorce in the UK can vary depending on the method you choose and the complexity of your case. You must pay a £593 court fee to apply for a divorce and process your application.

In a straightforward, uncontested divorce with a solicitor acting on your behalf, the cost of preparing paperwork and progressing proceedings is likely to be in the region of £500 + VAT in addition to court fees.

In cases where divorce is contested, or there are financial and childcare arrangements to resolve, fees can range drastically – anywhere between £2,500 to £25,000.

Everyone’s situation is different, and there is no one size fits all approach to a divorce. Please contact us for a no obligation initial consultation to discuss your specific circumstances

No. It is a common misconception that matrimonial assets are split 50/50 when a couple gets divorced. It is however a general starting point for proceedings.

The court aim to divide assets in a way that is fair and equal, but this does not necessarily mean an even split. Several factors are considered by the courts including the relative needs of each party, child custody and future earnings.

Assets will be split equally to the best of the court’s ability, however what is considered equal will be based on your individual circumstances.

Whilst it generally does not matter who files for divorce first, the divorce ‘Petitioner’ or applicant, the one who begins the divorce process gives you some control over the pace at which a divorce moves forward.

If you agree to a divorce, and the reasons why, getting a divorce finalised will take around 6 months.

Proceedings will take longer if you need to sort out matters regarding finances, property, and children, as this needs to be done separately.

A legal separation or ‘judicial separation’ is a way of separating without getting a divorce. It lets you and your estranged partner make formal agreements about matters such as living arrangements and finances – but you remain married.

You may request a legal separation if you don’t want a divorce for religious or cultural reasons, or you are unable to get a divorce because you have been married for less than a year.

Mediation is the process used to sort the differences between yourself and your ex-partner with the help of a third, objective, person, who won’t take sides. This person is known as a mediator. They will help you reach agreements about issues relating to your separation such as money, property, and children.

You don’t have to try mediation, but if you do end up having to go to court, you do normally need to prove you have been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM), which is an introductory meeting to explain to you what mediation is and how it might help you.

Where possible, it’s better to try and reach an agreement through mediation. You can save money in legal fees, and it can be easier and less painful to solve your differences this way.

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