You must have entered into a legally recognised marriage in the UK. If you were married abroad, the marriage must be legally recognised in that country. To apply for a divorce you must be married for at least 12 months. You can apply for a divorce in the UK if you can show that at least one of you is habitually resident in the UK.
Ground for Divorce
Divorce or dissolution can only be applied for one year after the ceremony. The marriage or civil partnership must have irretrievably broken down and this can be proved by a number of facts. In divorce proceedings these are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- A period of separation in excess of 2 years if both parties agree
- A period of desertion for 2 years
- A period of separation in excess of 5 years, where it does not matter if one party objects or not.
The above facts can also be used to dissolve a civil partnership with the exception of adultery, as by its definition this would not apply to a same sex couple. Any infidelity can instead be cited under unreasonable behaviour.
One party to the marriage (the Petitioner) files a petition at court with the original marriage certificate and the issue fee/fee exemption form.
If undefended the Petitioner will apply for the Decree Nisi as a paper exercise (no Court hearing is needed), if defended the Petitioner will apply for Directions for Trial and a Court hearing date.
The Judge looks at the petition and certifies that the Court is satisfied the marriage has come to an end. The court places the petition in the list for the Decree Nisi and confirms the date and time of the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi to the parties. Neither party needs to attend Court. The Court will simply read the names and grant the Decree Nisi. Copies are sent to each party.
Six weeks and one day after the date of the Decree Nisi the Petitioner may apply for the Decree Absolute to end the marriage. You continue to be married until the Decree Absolute it made.
We can advise you as to the right course of action in your circumstances.
To find out more about the process of divorce and the legal requirements contact one of our solicitors. Our solicitors can meet you at any of our offices to talk about your situation. Contact us today to arrange an appointment. If you would rather speak to us on the phone, call our expert solicitor Pradeep Shina.
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Frequently Asked Questions
To obtain further information on the law relating to divorce proceedings, download the guide below.