It is safe to say that divorce, at a base level, is a complicated process, especially if it is also wrought with emotions, which many of them are.
Therefore, if you opt to divorce, it can help if you have at least a simple understanding of what to expect.
When you come to see our team at Prentice Family Law, our divorce solicitors in Guildford can guide you through the step-by-step process to minimise stress to you and to make sure it goes off without a hitch. Great!
So, without further ado, here is a simplified guide to a standard divorce in the UK, explained by our divorce solicitors in Guildford. Enjoy!
Step 1: Grounds for divorce
In the UK, there is only one legally binding ground for divorce, which is the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. However, to prove this, you must cite one of the following five reasons.
Adultery: This is where your partner has cheated, and you find it impossible to continue living together. Sadly, this is one of the most prevalent reasons that our divorce solicitors in Guildford see for separations.
Unacceptable behaviour: Your spouse has behaved in a way that you can no longer be expected to live with them; this applies in instances of domestic abuse.
Desertion: Your spouse no longer lives with you and has not for at least two years out of the past two and a half years.
Two years of separation with consent-You and your spouse have been living apart for at least two years, and both agree to the divorce.
Five years of separation without consent- You and your spouse have been living apart for at least five years, and no consent is required.
There is also the added option to apply for a no-fault divorce, which our team can also assist you with. For this, all you need to do is showcase that your marriage has broken down and, in most cases, this is the better option as it is blame-free.
Step 2: Filing a divorce petition
To initiate the divorce process, you (the petitioner) must file a divorce petition at the family court. The petition includes details about your marriage, the reason for divorce, and any arrangements for children, if applicable.
Step 3: Respondent’s response
The respondent must complete and return this form within a specific timeframe, usually eight days. The respondent has the legal right to either agree or disagree with the divorce or indicate whether they intend to defend the case.
Step 4: Applying for decree nisi
If the respondent does not contest the divorce, then the decree nisi can be applied for. This is a provisional decree that confirms the court sees no reason why you can’t get divorced. You will need to complete a statement in support of the divorce, and if the court is happy, they will issue the Decree Nisi.
Step 5: Getting the decree absolute
About a month and a half after you file for the Decree Nisi, you can apply for the final stage of the divorce, the Decree Absolute; this is the legal document that officially ends your marriage. Once you receive the Decree Absolute, your marriage is legally dissolved, and you are free to remarry if you wish.