United Kingdom Divorce Law

Written by cassandra mathers
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United Kingdom Divorce Law
Divorce can be a difficult process. (man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

While few enter marriage expecting the relationship to end, divorce is an increasingly common situation for many couples in the United Kingdom. U.K. divorce laws vary from the laws of other countries, so it is important to note some key details.

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Reasons for Divorce

U.K. legal system has no concept of "irreconcilable differences." Acceptable reasons for divorce include adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, two years' separation with consent or 5 years' separation without consent. However, in the U.K., the reason for the divorce bears no relevance to the division of financial assets or the custody of children.

Divorces Abroad

Divorces obtained in the U.K. at foreign embassies are not considered to have been obtained in the United Kingdom, and are therefore not recognised by the U.K. Divorces obtained abroad are not recognised unless one or both spouses has a significant tie to the country from which the divorce is granted.

Extra-judicial Divorces

Extra-judicial divorce, which is a divorce granted by a religious body such as the Islamic Talaq or the Greek Orthodox Church, are considered legal in the United Kingdom if granted before 1974 and agreed upon by both parties. Extra-judicial divorces granted after 1974 are not considered legal or binding, and such marriages are still valid.

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