If your relationship is facing difficulties and you are considering a separation or divorce, our team of specialist family lawyers can help you consider the different options available, and work through the technicalities you’ll face.
With Foys Solicitors, you can be sure that you are in the best hands, and that your case will be dealt with in an efficient, sympathetic, and understanding way. Within our team, we have a range of family law experts: advanced members of the Law Society Family Panel, accredited specialists, representatives for vulnerable adults and children, and a collaborative family lawyer. When it comes to family conflicts, we have years of experience in mediation as well – which means we can provide invaluable advice and support, even when you think the situation seems hopeless.
Getting a divorce
You can get a divorce in England or Wales if you’ve been married for at least a year and you have grounds for divorce.
Grounds for divorce can include:
- Unreasonable behaviour – physical or verbal abuse, alcoholism or drug addiction
- Desertion –your partner has left without your agreement or without a reason
- Separated for over 2 years, if you both agree to a divorce
- Separated for over 5 years if only one partner wants to divorce
If you do not fit the required criteria, you can still get a legal separation.
The process of divorce
If you wish to apply for a divorce, you will need:
- Your partner’s full name and address. This is required as the court must send them a copy of your petition.
- Your marriage certificate
- If claiming divorce on the basis of adultery, the full name of the person your partner committed adultery with
Note that in order to apply for divorce, you must pay a £550 fee. This is payable by card online, or by card or cheque if you wish to apply by post. There may be help available if you are on benefits or low income. Before paying any fees, you should consult a solicitor – they can tell you how likely it is that your divorce will be granted, and whether you are eligible for financial assistance.
If your application is correct, your husband or wife will be sent a copy of your application. They will need to respond within 8 days to clarify whether they agree to divorce, and whether they agree to covering the costs. If you are claiming divorce on the basis of adultery, the person your husband or wife committed adultery with will be asked to comment as well. If your husband or wife does not respond in time, you might still be able go ahead with the divorce if there is proof that they received the application.
Decree nisi and decree absolute
If your husband or wife agrees to the divorce, you can apply for a decree nisi. This is a document that says the court allows you to go ahead with divorce proceedings. This involves another application form, as well as a statement form confirming your reason for divorcing. Your husband or wife’s response needs to be attached. If the court refuses the decree nisi, you will usually be asked to submit more information or attend a court hearing. If the court grants you a decree nisi, you will be allowed to apply for a decree absolute after 43 days. The application involves another form, and this is when you also need to make legal agreements on how to divide money and property. Once everything has been arranged, you will be sent the decree absolute, which officially confirms your marriage has ended.
At Foys Solicitors, we are experienced in handling divorce law and know how difficult it can be to get a divorce granted in some cases. Mediation can sometimes help convince an unwilling partner to agree to divorce – or you may need representation in court. If you cannot be granted a divorce, we can arrange a legal separation agreement instead.
Before you apply for divorce, contact Foys Solicitors to discuss your situation.