Unless you attended law school, studied law to degree level, or understand Latin, divorce can seem like a complicated process- and it is!

With the majority of the terminology used in a legal separation involving Latin and with a never-ending maze of conditions, many couples divorces are stressful, and not solely due to emotional ramifications.

For instance, there is a media representation that all divorces in the UK have to go through court and are left to the discretion of a judge to decide if they should go ahead, which is simply not true in the majority of cases. Therefore, when couples begin divorce proceedings and hear words such as ‘mediation’ and ‘reasonable grounds,’ they can feel very puzzled.

At Prentice Family Law, our divorce solicitors in Guildford will always aim to make divorce as straightforward and stress-free as possible. Specialised in mediation and with all of our family-based solicitors adhering to the ‘Resolution Code of Practice’, you can rest assured that when you choose us, your divorce will be a simple procedure.

But, it can always help to know a bit about the legal basis of separations Here, our divorce solicitors in Guildford provide a brief guide to divorces in the UK.

Legal requirements

We have all heard of ‘quickie divorces,’ but this is a misnomer.

In the UK, there are a few legal requirements that govern divorce, meaning that you cannot simply divorce your spouse without ticking some boxes.

Firstly, as our divorce solicitors in Guildford will tell you, one of the first requirements is that you and your former spouse have been married for 12 months. Secondly, your marriage must be officially recognised in the UK and you must have a permanent home in England or Wales. The same rules apply to same-sex marriages.


When beginning divorce proceedings, you and your former spouse will need to attend Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMS).

These meetings provide both you and your former spouse with the opportunity to iron out any disagreements about finances or child access with 2 solicitors who are trained in this area. This helps to avoid court and is an amicable option that all respectable solicitors will push for as a first step.

Grounds for divorce

While no-fault divorces are becoming legally recognised in the UK, there are a few other grounds for divorce that it is worth knowing about.

Issues such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2-year separation with consent, and 5 years separation without consent are all acceptable reasons for divorce to occur.


Legally, a divorce simply signifies the end of a marriage, and discussions about finances will take place separately. Typically, these disputes will begin after the Decree Nisi is obtained and a court will be involved in this process.


Most separated couples reach an amicable agreement in relation to child custody post-divorce. However, if this is not achievable, then an arrangement order can be filed and a family-based solicitor will be needed for your representation in upcoming court attendance.