Explaining The Divorce Process

Date Added 28.04.16

There are very few of us who get married with the intention of getting divorced. However, life can be unpredictable. If your situation at home reaches a stage where you are thinking about divorce, it can help to know the process of divorce and what to expect. In England and Wales, to be able to get a divorce you must have had a legally recognised marriage, been married for at least a year, and live or be domiciled in England or Wales.

There are 3 main stages to divorcing your spouse;

Filing a Petition for Divorce

This is where you apply to the court for permission to end your marriage and give your reasons for deciding to do so.

Apply for a Decree Nisi

This is an order by the court stating when the marriage will end unless a good reason is produced not to end the marriage.

Apply for a Decree Absolute

This legally ends your marriage and the Petitioner can apply for it 6 weeks after you receive your Decree Nisi.

When arranging a divorce matters become much easier if both you and your spouse are in agreement about: the reasons for the divorce, the arrangements for your children spending time with each parent and the division of any property, possessions and finances. If these things can be agreed, the process and paperwork should be relatively straight forward.

If these things cannot be agreed upon, mediation is a good way to reach these agreements with your spouse.

When filing for divorce, you must give the court a valid reason for doing so. You will be asked to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of the following reasons;


When sexual relations take place with a person outside the marriage. It is still adultery, if it takes place after you have separated. This may not be given as grounds for divorce if you continued to live with your spouse for 6 months after finding out.

Unreasonable Behaviour

This may include, but is not limited to, physical violence, drunkenness and drug-taking, verbal abuse and refusal to contribute financially to the household.


When your husband or wife has left you without your agreement, without good reason to end your relationship, for more than 2 years within the last 2.5 years. This can be difficult to prove and it is generally better to rely on one of the other facts.

2 Year Separation

When you have lived apart for 2 years and both parties agree to the divorce, this must be agreed in writing.

5 Year Separation

When you have lived apart for 5 years, this is usually enough to be granted a divorce even if your spouse does not agree to it.

If you are facing the oftentimes difficulties of divorce and are unsure of where to start, talk to a member of the Tollers Family Law team on 01908 396230 we are here to help you every step of the way.

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