Making the decision to end your marriage can be incredibly difficult and as Divorce lawyers Guildford we can help you with expert advice throughout the process. The below guide provides information surrounding the procedure and laws of divorce. We also cover the grounds, or reasons, you will need to be aware of to end your marriage.
When can you get divorced?
If you have been legally married for at least one year then either you, or your ex partner can apply for a divorce. Certain religious marriage ceremonies are not recognised in English or Welsh law.
Who has the authority to dissolve a marriage?
You will need to go to court to dissolve your marriage and obtain, firstly a decree nissi and secondly approximately 6 weeks later, you can apply for a decree absolute. Once the decree absolute has been issued you are legally divorced and your marriage is legally over. At that point, not before, you are both free to legally marry again if you so choose.
You can apply for a divorce in England or Wales if one or both of you live there. If you have an attachment to another country (for instance one of you is from there) then you may have the option to obtain a divorce there instead. Choosing the country to obtain the divorce is very important as different countries have different rules regarding finances etc and how they are shared out. You will need to seek divorce advice quickly if you feel your ex partner is about to start divorce proceedings in a different country, as it may benefit you to start proceedings in the UK before they do – This is known as a petition race.
What are 'grounds for divorce?'
Put simply, the only grounds for divorce (reason) is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and cannot be repaired. Some couples will have gone through some kind of counselling or mediation to arrive at this point. To prove that your marriage has ended you will need to state one of the five facts below in your divorce petition.
1. Unreasonable behaviour. This is to say that your ex partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This can take many forms, from domestic violence, lack of intimacy, isolating you from friends/family and many others. You will need to provide a court with 4/5 examples of this behaviour as evidence. You may want to use the worst, the first and the most recent examples of this behaviour. If you have continued to live together as a couple for more than 6 months from the last incident, then it may be harder for you to prove in court that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
2. Adultery. This is where your partner has had sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex, who is not their spouse. British law currently does not recognise sexual intercourse with the same sex as adultery, so you cannot cite that as a ground for divorce and will need to look at the other four grounds to proceed. If your ex partner admits to adultery and agrees with divorce proceedings then the courts are more likely to grant the divorce. If the ex partner does not agree to adultery then you will need to prove this and provide evidence to the courts. The person they are accused of committing adultery with does not need to be named. You are also required to prove that you find it intolerable to live with your ex partner, either due to the adultery or other unreasonable behaviour. If you have lived together with your ex partner for more than 6 months since you found out about the adultery then you cannot cite that as a reason for divorce.
3. Desertion. Your ex partner has left you for a period of at least 2 years. You will need to show that they left to end the relationship, without your agreement or a good reason. As Divorce lawyers Guildford this is the least used ground for divorce.
4. Two years separation with consent. You have been separated for a period of two years and both consent to a divorce. You can have lived together in the same house during this time, but obviously not as a couple. You need to have been living separate lives, for example eating, cooking, doing chores etc separately and obviously have different bedrooms. You must both agree to this, so it is a good idea to check with your ex partner prior to submitting it to the courts.
5. Five years separation. Where you and your ex partner have been separated for a minimum period of five years. After five years of separation you are entitled to apply for a divorce, either with or without your ex partners consent. You will need to show that you have tried to locate them, in cases where there has been no contact. You may also need to provide evidence if your ex partner disputes the separation has been five years, so it is important to change all financial dealings, i.e. bills etc to your own name as soon as possible as they could be used in evidence in situations such as this. They can dispute the divorce, but only if they can prove they would suffer grave financial, or other hardship, as a result of the divorce.
For all your divorce lawyers Guildford questions we are here to help and guide you through every step of the way. With many years of expertise we are the perfect choice for your situation and will always treat you as an individual.
Contact us today on 01483 826470 and see how WE can help YOU today.