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In order to get a divorce in England and Wales you need to have been married for more than one year and you will need to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  In order to prove that your marriage has broken down you must be able to rely on one of the following reasons:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour (your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot be expected to live together).
  2. That your spouse has committed adultery and that you find it intolerable to live together.
  3. That your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more.
  4. That you have been living apart for two years and your spouse also wants a divorce.
  5. That you have been living apart for five years or more.

One of these reasons will form the basis of your application to be divorced known as a divorce petition. If you are unsure as to which reason may be most suitable in your circumstances, this is something that can be discussed at your initial no cost interview.


In order to bring your marriage to an end you must follow a legal process.  In summary the process is as follows:

  1. Your completed divorce petition (your application for a divorce) is sent to the nominated divorce centre for your area (the Court).
  2. The divorce centre will process the divorce petition and a copy will be sent to your husband or wife.
  3. Your husband or wife will need to complete an Acknowledgment of Service form included with their copy of the divorce petition and return this to the divorce centre.
  4. If your spouse agrees that there should be a divorce then you must sign a statement confirming that the details in your divorce petition are true and send this to the Court.
  5. The Court considers all the documents and decides if you are entitled to a divorce.
  6. If you are entitled to a divorce then the Court will set a date for the pronouncement of your Decree Nisi which is the first order of divorce.
  7. Six weeks and one day after Decree Nisi you can apply for Decree Absolute which brings your marriage to an end.

There are issues to consider within the process and there can be issues which can delay or complicate the process for example if your spouse does not agree that there should be a divorce and defends the divorce petition.  Please do contact us if you would like any further information specific to your circumstances.


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