You may be starting divorce proceedings, responding to a divorce petition, seeking new solicitors for an ongoing case, or considering reopening an old case. Having a top divorce solicitor by your side can make a real difference to your chances of success.
After the first year of marriage either party may start divorce proceedings in England and Wales. This is a paperwork process and there should be no need for you or your spouse to appear at court to explain why your marriage has broken down. The procedure is started by completing and sending to the court a pre-printed court form known as the Divorce Petition and your marriage certificate. It is within the Divorce Petition that you set out how the marriage has irretrievably broken down by evidencing one of five ‘facts’. These five facts are defined by statute as follows:
- That your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them. It is important to have your spouse’s admission of the adultery to rely on this fact. There is no need to name the third party; in fact this is discouraged by the courts.
- That your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your spouse. This is a subjective test and the behaviour relied on does not have to be exceptional or unusual.
- Desertion by your spouse for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the Divorce Petition. This is rarely used as a ground for divorce and is only available in exceptional circumstances.
- A period of two years separation preceding the presentation of the Divorce Petition along with your spouse’s consent to the divorce. If they do not consent you cannot rely on this ‘fact’ even if you have been separated for two years.
- A period of five years separation preceding the presentation of the Divorce Petition. You do not need your spouse’s consent to the divorce to rely on this ‘fact’.
The courts deal with financial claims and the divorce separately. However, it is not unusual to delay finalising the divorce until financial claims have been agreed and finalised by the court.
We are specialist family law solicitors with outstanding knowledge and experience. We are able to advise and assist you through this process in a constructive and effective manner.
Take a look at our brief guide – How to Get Divorced – to gain an overview of the whole process.