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Divorce FAQ

There are often lots of questions to be answered when you first start the divorce process. We have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions below. Click on a link to see the answer to that question or contact us for more information.

How long do I have to be married before I can get a divorce?

In England you must have been married for one year before you can start the divorce process.

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What are the grounds for a divorce?

To obtain a divorce you must show that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. You must prove this by demonstrating one of the following five facts.

Please see our page on the grounds for divorce for more information.

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Can I state my own adultery as reason for a divorce?

You cannot state your own adultery as a reason for divorce. You will have to ask your spouse to divorce you on this basis or petition yourself based upon a different fact.

Please see our page on grounds for divorce for more information.

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How long does it take to get a divorce?

If things are straightforward a typical divorce takes between 4 to 6 months.

A lot depends on whether or not your spouse responds quickly when they receive your divorce petition. The divorce may also be delayed due to the division of matrimonial assets, as it is best to resolve these matters completely before you apply for the decree absolute which marks the end of the marriage. The divorce could also be delayed by problems which concern the arrangements for children.

In general, the more you and your spouse can agree on, the quicker the divorce process will be.

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Will I have to go to court to obtain a divorce?

Court hearings most commonly arise when an agreement cannot be reached on matters such as finances and arrangements for children.

In most straightforward divorce cases you will not have to go to court. If the divorce is uncontested and you are able to reach an agreement on the finances and child arrangements, then a formal court hearing is unlikely to be necessary.

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How much does a divorce cost?

The cost will depend on a number of factors. A straightforward divorce with no complications will cost less than one where in depth negotiations and disputes about finances and children are involved. See our page on divorce finances for more information or contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

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What if my spouse defends the divorce proceedings?

Defended divorces are extremely rare as people generally recognise that there is little point in trying to keep a marriage alive when the other spouse considers the relationship to have ended. Also, it can be very costly, so in the vast majority of cases it is not advisable.

If a defence is filed there has to be a hearing where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence for divorce or in the case of a cross petition (where the other spouse has declined the reasons for divorce and put forward their own reasons) whether either or both have sufficient grounds for a decree to be granted

Usually a draft petition will be sent to the other party for comment before it is sent to the court, in the hope that an agreed petition can be lodged instead.

Our experienced divorce solicitors will help you to find the most suitable reason when petitioning for a divorce.

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If I move out of the family home, will this affect my rights?

In general a spouse will not be penalised for moving out of the family home in terms of the eventual financial settlement.

Although your legal rights are not affected by moving out, other factors may be affected. For example your spouse may deny access, you are unlikely to have any control in the sale and you have the expense of alternative accommodation.

If you are considering moving out of the family home it is always advisable to take legal advice from a specialist family solicitor first.

If you would like to discuss an issue with one of our family law solicitors, please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you.

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