To obtain a divorce in England & Wales you must be married for more than 1 year and prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of five facts in the divorce petition:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • 2 years separation with the consent of your spouse
  • 5 years separation without consent of your spouse
  • Desertion in excess of 2 years

The divorce procedure is started by filing a divorce petition in one of the divorce centres within England and Wales. Your original marriage certificate or an official copy of the certificate must also be sent to the Court and will not be returned to you. This is replaced by the Decree Absolute at the end of the proceedings.

Once issued the divorce documentation is served on the other party and that party is asked to complete an Acknowledgment of Service form. If the proceedings are not defended you can proceed to the next stage which is to file a statement with the Court confirming that the contents of the Petition are true . At this stage the application for the decree nisi is made. This is the penultimate decree. Six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of Decree Nisi, you can apply to the Court for the final decree, the Decree Absolute, although you should not do so without first seeking advice as to the implications. Once that is granted you are divorced.

If there are no complications, the procedure should take around 4-6 months from start to finish. The proceedings will take longer however if there are any disputes concerning finances or there are problems with service of the Petition upon the other party.

At PJH we have an experienced team of family law specialists who can assist with your divorce whether your matter is relatively straightforward or complex.

We are friendly and approachable but professional and efficient at the same time. Years of experience mean that we will be able to identify the right solution to meet your needs from the outset so that your time and money are not wasted.