How do I start divorce proceedings?
Deciding to end your marriage is not a decision that is taken lightly. Indeed, getting divorced is often a stressful and emotional period of your life. However, the process of getting divorced doesn’t need to be complicated, especially if you use the services of an expert and professional divorce solicitor. An experienced divorce lawyer can help guide you through the process, answer your questions and ensure all paperwork is completed accurately. If you wish to get a divorce, but are unsure where to start, then keep on reading. Here, Graysons’ team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield answer some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce in England and Wales.
How long does a divorce take in the UK?
If both spouses agree to the divorce, then you can expect the process to take up to six months for the divorce to be legally finalised. However, divorces can take longer. For example, if parties cannot come to an agreement on finances, or disagree on who should be the primary carer of any children. Getting divorced can also be delayed if your ex-partner doesn’t agree to the divorce, or the reasons for the divorce. Note that, due to the pandemic, divorce proceedings are currently taking longer. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can help ensure the divorce process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible.
What documents do I need to get a divorce?
To start the divorce process, you will need your original marriage certificate or a certified copy, as well as your ex-partner’s full name and address. If your marriage certificate is in another language, you will need to include a certified translation. If you have changed your name since you got married, then you will also need to provide proof of your name change.
What grounds for divorce are there in England and Wales?
In order to get divorced in England and Wales you will need to prove that your marriage has irreparably broken down. There are five reasons, known as grounds for divorce in : adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for more than two years, and separation of more than five years.
- Adultery – your ex-partner has had sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex. For this to be cited as grounds for divorce, you must apply for the divorce within six months of the adultery being discovered.
- Unreasonable behaviour – this includes your ex-partner behaving in such a way that you cannot be reasonably expected to live with them. Unreasonable behaviour includes physical violence, manipulation, unfaithfulness, verbal abuse, drug-taking or drunkenness, or refusing to pay towards shared living expenses. Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason for divorce. Indeed, between 2016-18 nearly half of all grounds for divorce were unreasonable behaviour.
- Desertion – your ex-partner has left you without your agreement or for good reason. If your partner has deserted you for more than two years, then you will be able to use this as grounds for divorce.
- Separation two years – you have been separated for at least two years.
- Separation five years – you have been separated for more than five years. In this instance, you can apply for a divorce even if your ex-partner disagrees as long as you can show the court that you have been living apart for more than five years.
To start the divorce process in England and Wales, you must have been married for more than a year and be able to demonstrate that this is your permanent home, or your ex-partner’s permanent home. Your marriage must also be legally recognised in our jurisdiction.
Choosing your grounds for divorce can be challenging, particularly if you do not want to assign blame to your ex-partner. Additionally, choosing the right grounds for divorce can help speed up the divorce process by helping to prevent any disputes. An experienced divorce solicitor will be able to advise you as to the appropriate grounds for divorce based on your circumstances.
Can you get a no-fault divorce in the UK?
Yes, in England and Wales you can apply for a no-fault divorce. This is often chosen by people who do not wish to assign any blame to their ex-partner and the fall-out that this inevitably can bring. To get a no-fault divorce in the UK, you will have to prove that you have been separated for at least two years and you both agree to the divorce. This may include living at different addresses, or living at the same address, but living separately, including sleeping in separate bedrooms.
In January, 2020, a new Bill, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, entered Parliament, which seeks to make a no-fault divorce easier to obtain. The Bill is seen as one of the biggest shake-ups of divorce laws for 50 years and sets to ease the impact of unnecessary conflict on couples and children.
If you would like to discuss how you can get a no-fault divorce, then contact Graysons’ team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield.
Can I get divorced if I am in a civil partnership?
No, you cannot get a divorce if you are in a civil partnership. If you wish to end a civil partnership, then you will need to apply for a dissolution. As with a divorce, you will need to prove your relationship has broken down and cannot be saved. If you need advice about ending a civil partnership, then contact Graysons’ team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield.
Can I get an annulment instead of filing for divorce?
Yes, you can get an annulment instead of a divorce in England and Wales. However, in order to get an annulment, you will need to prove that the marriage was not legally valid. Grounds for an annulment include:
- Your spouse was previously married
- Either person was under 16-years-of-age when they got married
- The marriage has not been consummated
- Consent for the marriage was not properly given
- The marriage was agreed under false pretences
- Either spouse lacked mental capacity to agree to the marriage
A specialist divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield, will be able to advise you whether you should seek an annulment or a divorce.
What if my partner refuses to grant me a divorce?
If your partner refuses to grant you a divorce, then this is known as a Contested Divorce. Contested divorces are rare, however they do occur. If your partner refuses to grant you a divorce, then you should seek the expertise of a professional divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield divorce solicitors.
Will I have to go to court to get a divorce?
It is unlikely that you will have to go to court to get a divorce. If both you and your ex-partner agree to the divorce, then the divorce process can be dealt with entirely on paper. However, you may have to go to court if your ex-partner refuses to agree to the divorce, known as a Contested Divorce. Other reasons for having to go to court during a divorce include when parties cannot agree on who should pay legal costs, or agree on other financial matters, or arrangements for children. It is important to remember that going to court is seen as a last resort, and an experienced divorce lawyer will only proceed to this stage when all other possible avenues to reach an agreement have been exhausted.
How can Graysons’ divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield help?
Graysons’ team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield can give you expert advice at every stage of the divorce process. They will be able to answer any questions you have and discuss all your options, ensure all paperwork is completed accurately, help you understand your rights as well as the rights of your ex-partner, all while working with you to ensure the very best outcome. If you wish to file for a divorce, then contact our team of divorce lawyers today.