How to get a divorce in England and Wales

Written by nick redfern Google
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How to get a divorce in England and Wales
Divorce in England and Wales: what you need to know (Getty Thinkstock)

Unless you're very lucky, divorce is never an easy process. Indeed, it can be one of the most traumatic experiences of a person's life. And not just from an emotional perspective. There are the potentially-daunting matters of legal issues, filing paperwork, and the splitting of assets. But, by following the data below, you can make things easier and understand the process that awaits.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Proof you have been married for at least 365 days
  • Proof of permanent residence in England or Wales
  • Document with reason for the divorce

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    Grounds for a divorce

  1. 1

    Despite what many assume, simply saying you want a divorce because of "irreconcilable differences" will not work in England or Wales. The court will require a specific reason for why you wish the divorce to go ahead, such as adultery, separation, or abusive behaviour. If one of these reasons can be provided to the court, matters can then be taken to the next step.

    How to get a divorce in England and Wales
    The reasons for splitting up (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  2. 2

    With the divorce now in-hand, it's the role of the parties involved - the Applicant and the Respondent - to file the Divorce Petition to put matters into motion. This involves applying to the court, and demonstrating the reason for the divorce. From there, it will be necessary to make an application for a Decree Nisi - which, essentially, will confirm the divorce can proceed. Then, comes the final step: the Decree Absolute, which legally ends the marriage.

    How to get a divorce in England and Wales
    The process of paperwork (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Sometimes, and particularly so when a couple is able to remain on reasonable terms, they may wish to avoid the potentially costly process of hiring solicitors to handle the splitting of their assets, such as cash in the bank, furniture and cars. And if children aged 16 or under are involved, and an agreement can be decided upon - by husband and wife alone - as to who they will live with, all the better. Not only does this approach make the entire process far less stressful and money-draining than having a solicitor on-board, but it very often means you will be able to avoid a court-hearing, and the paperwork may be filed, and finalised, much quicker.

    How to get a divorce in England and Wales
    Splitting up on your own terms (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tips and warnings

  • While it may be difficult, try and remain as amicable as possible with your spouse. Decide whether or not you want to use solicitors. Ensure that you have properly submitted all the required documentation.
  • Remember that incorrectly-filed paperwork may slow the divorce process. Using solicitors might seem logical to many, but it can also be a costly process if matters drag on. Ensure that you fully understand the process ahead of you: going into a divorce unprepared, or ignorant of the legal-process, is not recommended.

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