Inspiring separating couples to make their own informed decisions

FAQs on Divorce

How long does a Divorce take?

Usually, from the filing of your Divorce application to the final dissolution (obtaining the Decree Absolute), it should take no more than 6 months, subject to the Divorce being undefended and on the basis that there are no complicated or unusual circumstances e.g. if one of you are resident abroad.

How much does a Divorce cost?

An undefended Divorce costs about £1,500.00 (inclusive of VAT & disbursements), subject to the Divorce being undefended and relatively straightforward, without any complicated features. If you choose not to instruct a solicitor the costs will be substantially reduced to simply the disbursements – court fee is £550.00 for filing a Divorce petition and includes applying for the Decree Absolute.

Will we have to go to Court to get a Divorce?

No. So long as the Divorce proceeds on an uncontested basis there is no need for you to attend Court. Everything with regard to the Divorce Proceedings can be done by way of a paper exercise.

What are the grounds for Divorce?

The key aspect is that the Court should be satisfied of is that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. This must be supported by one of five factors as follows:

a) Your spouse has committed adultery and you found it intolerable to live together; or
b) Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live together; or
c) Your spouse has deserted you for more than 2 years; or
d) You have been separated for 2 years and your spouse agrees to the Divorce; or
e) You have been separated for a period of more than 5 years. No consent required.

What do I do if my spouse refuses to get Divorced?

Unless you are proceeding on the grounds of 2 years separation with consent, , you do not need your spouses’ agreement to the proposed Divorce application.
Your solicitor may recommend that attempts be made to get your spouses’ admission to adultery if you were proceeding on this ground before issuing an application based on adultery. In the event that your spouse is uncooperative, your solicitor may suggest that you proceed on the grounds of his/her unreasonable behaviour, which does not require an admission to the factors stated in your Divorce application.

If your spouse does not complete the acknowledgement form to allow you to go ahead to the next stage in the Divorce, your solicitor can arrange for personal service of the Divorce papers upon him/her. This will allow you to progress the Divorce to a Decree Absolute even if your spouse refuses to co-opertae with the Divorce, since you will be able to prove personal service of the Divorce papers upon him/her by way of  the statement of service that will be provided by your process-server.

Does it matter whose fault it is?

Usually the Court will not take into account either party’s conduct/reasons for the breakdown of the marriage unless the conduct is so “gross and obvious” to the extent that it would be inequitable for the Court to disregard such conduct. An example of such conduct is a case where the husband had caused grievous bodily harm to his wife and has limited her earning capacity as a result of the injuries.

Can I rely on my adultery and file for Divorce?

No. You cannot rely on your own adultery; your spouse will have to file for the Divorce on the grounds of your adultery.

What if I cannot find my original marriage certificate?

Don’t worry you can apply for a duplicate certificate from the relevant Registry Office or Church where the marriage took place. Usually a fee is payable.

What if my certificate is in a different language/foreign?

You will have to have the marriage certificate translated by an independent and qualified translator who will have to prepare a statement of truth confirming that the translation is correct. You will need to file the original marriage certificate with the translation at Court and the translator’s satement of truth.

What if I don’t know my spouse’s current address?

It would be advisable to carry out some personal enquiries through family and friends who may be connected to your spouse. In the event that you are still unable to find him/her you may need to get the help of a private detective or a tracing agent to help you find your spouse. Costs vary for this service.

If you cannot find your spouse after taking the above steps, you will have to apply to the Court for an Order to “dispense with service”. You will have to satisfy the District Judge that you have may every attempt/effort to find your spouse before dispensation of service will be granted.

If I want to rely on my spouse’s adultery after we have separated will this still count?

Yes. So long as you have not resumed cohabitation/reconciled after you became aware of the adultery for more than 6 months.

Can I still apply for a Divorce on the grounds of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years separation or 5 years separation, even if we continue to living under the same roof?

Yes, provided that prior to the date that you filed your Divorce Application you were not living as man and wife and that you lived effectively as separate entities e.g. separate bedrooms, independent domestic arrangements, independent living and socialising. You will have to provide a statement  of truth to this effect to satisfy the District Judge that you were not living together as man and wife.

If we have been separated for a period of 2 years, will I automatically be entitled to a Divorce?

No. This is a misconception by many separating couples. You will have to file an application for Divorce on the grounds of 2 year separation with consent. You must have your spouse’s agreement when filing an application for Divorce on this ground.

If we are separated for a period of 5 years, will I be automatically entitled to a Divorce?

No. This is a common misconception by many separating couples. There is no such thing as “an automatic Divorce”.

To obtain dissolution of your marriage, you must file a Divorce application with the Court on the grounds of 5 year separation. You will not need your spouse’s consent but he/she must be served with the Divorce papers and will have the opportunity to raise issues about potential financial claims against you, when completing his/her Acknowledgement of Service Form.

Is there such a thing as a “quickie Divorce”?

No. This is a common misconception and has come about as a result of celebrity Divorces, which have been portrayed inaccurately in the media. Usually the Divorce process takes about 4-6 months, so long as the Divorce is uncontested.

In some circumstances, the Court is able to agree to an Application for the Decree Absolute being filed prior to the statutory waiting period of 6 weeks and 1 day, however this is highly unusual.

What if my spouse is resident abroad, will this cause any problems?

No. The UK Courts will have jurisdiction to deal with your Divorce so long as to one of you is either domiciled (living) or habitually resident in England and Wales.

What if we are both foreign nationals, will this cause any difficulties?

No, so long as one of you are habitually resident in England and Wales at the time of filing your Divorce application.

How can I find out if I am already Divorced?

You can apply to the Court for a central index search. There is a fee payable for a search in both the High and County Court.

Comments on: "FAQs on Divorce" (12)

  1. I changed my name after marriage therfore marriage certificate has a different name. Husband is overseas and kept original name deed document. I have a copy. Will this work ?

  2. What affects ones entitlement to spousal support or financial settlement? We have no kids and married under 2 years.

  3. I have had divorce paper served to my wife, she is refusing to sign them, we have been separated for over 5 years. the papers were sent 2 her over a year ago

    • You need to get papers served personally to allow you to progress to the next stage …or satisfy the court that she has received the papers by applying for deemed service…call the number on my website to book a half rate consultation for further advice

  4. See the sanction on financial claims – s25 of MCA 1973 factors

    Call the number on my website to arrange a half rate consultation for some bespoke advice re your case

  5. Hi my wife wonts a divorce due that she says thats she has been un happy and we had a few arguments but i have told her that we can sort all this out and i dont want a divorce can she still be given a divorce

    • Hello

      Sorry for late reply.

      Under English law the marriage must have irretrievably broken down and be supported by one of five facts to allow for a divorce petition to be filed.

      If you are still having difficulties within your marriage and need detected advice and assistance – please get in touch via my works website

      Best Wishes,

  6. My husband and I have been separated off and on for 2 years. We have two girls, ages 1 & 2. Plus another baby on the way in 4 months. He asked for a divorce because he couldn’t handle the marriage life along with a baby and going to work. He still wants it even though I don’t. I’d prefer to take the steps to work it out. I don’t believe in divorce over little things that can be resolved so I will contest it if I get papers. Can he still divorce me being that we’re off and on?

  7. Hi, interesting reading! can you advise on this?, what would it cost in court fees if we have been separated about 8 years both are happy to divorce, no kids, property or financial ties, is it cheaper dissolving marriage? or are court costs the same across the board for a divorce like this.

    • Hello Luke

      The court fees will the same but overall the cost of your divorce will be cheaper as there is no finances/claims to resolve or children issues.

      Please get in touch via my work website should you wish to find out more about the legal costs of divorce and options

      Best Wishes,

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