FAQ Divorce

Q1. How do you get a divorce in England & Wales?

As a marriage is a legally binding document you will need to apply to the Courts to terminate the contract.

Q2. How long does the divorce process take?

A normal divorce can take 16 – 18 weeks, but this is all on the assurance that you send out your documents quickly and that your spouse completes and returns their documents back to the Court in good time also.

Q3. How much does a divorce cost?

The application fee for a divorce is £550. If you are however in receipt of certain state benefits or a particularly low income you may be able to apply for a disbursement to the fee by completing an EX160 Fee Remission Form.

If you wanted a firm of Solicitors to manage your divorce prices range from £650 - £1000 plus VAT excluding the £550 court fee.

Q4. We were married abroad, can we still divorce in England?

Yes. The primary issue is not so much where you were married but where you are now living. You can apply for a divorce if you and your spouse are habitually resident or domiciled in England or Wales regardless of where you got married and what your nationalities are.

Q5 How long do you have to be married before you can apply for a Divorce?

You have to be married for at least one year before you can apply for your divorce.
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Q6. What are the grounds for a divorce?

There is only one ground for a divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, however you then have to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down in one of five ways; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation with consent, 5 years separation [no consent required].
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Q7. Can I rely on my own adultery or unreasonable behaviour in the divorce application?

No, you cannot, if you are admitting to adultery or feel that the marriage ended because of your own unreasonable behaviour then you and your spouse should be agreeing for them to be the Petitioner in the divorce. If they do not wish to be the Petitioner then they must understand that you may end up having to issue the petition based on their unreasonable behaviour [if none of the other grounds apply].
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Q8. What if I know longer know where my spouse is/their address?

You are going to need to make all attempts to try and locate them through family and friends and evidence how you have tried to do this.
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Q9. Do I need my marriage certificate to apply for a divorce?

Yes you will, this is the only document that proves you were legally married. If you cannot find your original certificate you can apply for a certified copy through the Gov.uk website.
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Q10. What if my marriage certificate is in a foreign language?

That is both common and fine, you will just have to have it formally translated by an official translators company who will have the translated certificate sworn. The translated copy will thereafter accompany your original marriage certificate when you send off your divorce application.
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Q11. How long do I have to wait before applying for my Decree Absolute?

6 weeks and 1 day. This is a statutory time frame which no one can avoid. It is expected that within this time you will deal with any financial issues that may be unresolved before the marriage is legally concluded.
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Q12. What happens if your spouse refuses to acknowledge receipt of the divorce papers?

Your spouse has 28 days to return the Acknowledgement of Service form back to the Court, if they fail to do so then you can take your own measures to ensure that the divorce progresses. You will need to ensure that you have evidence that your spouse has had sight of the divorce petition, the simplest way to do this is to hire someone to personally service the documents on your spouse. They will need to then prepare a statement of service which will accompany your application to dispense with service when you apply for your Decree Nisi.
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Q13. Will I have to attend court?

The vast majority of divorces are undefended and the parties are not required to attend court. However if the Respondent defends the divorce vehemently then the Judge may request both you and your spouse’s attendance to ask the reasons.
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Q14. How does a divorce and the financial arrangements work?

In the eyes of the law your divorce and financial situation are kept completely separate, there is no reason why you cannot start your divorce even if your finances are at the start unresolved you are most often advised however to not conclude your divorce [apply for your Decree Absolute] until your finances are agreed and tied up.
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Q15. Do I have to agree all arrangements for the children before divorce proceedings?

As with financial issues, you do not have to agree everything regarding the children but it is a good idea to try and do so. If you cannot come to mutual arrangements then one of you may need to apply for a formal order from the Court through the auspicious of a 'Child Arrangement Order'.
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Q16. Once I start divorce proceedings do I have to finish it or can I change my mind?

No, you can stop the divorce proceedings at any time and withdraw your application or just leave it.
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Q17. When can I marry again?

As soon as you receive your decree absolute as this overrides your marriage certificate.
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