Latest insights from our experts

Posted 5 September 2018
by Aimee Aspinall

Divorce FAQ’s – Part 1



To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least one year, and the relationship has permanently broken down. You will need to consider which fact applies to your particular case when presenting a petition for divorce. There are five possible options:

Adultery– if your spouse has committed adultery with someone of the opposite sex and you cannot live with them any longer. You cannot get divorced on the grounds of adultery if you have lived with your spouse for six months after you discovered the adultery.

Unreasonable behavior– if your spouse has acted in a way that you feel you could no longer bear to live with them. You will need to provide details of the behaviour. It is important to consider what impact your spouse’s behaviour has had upon you.

Desertion– if your spouse has left you without ending your relationship, without good reason, without agreement or for more than two years. This is seldom used.

2 years’ separation (with consent) – so long as your spouse agrees.

5 years separation– if you have been living apart for more than 5 years your spouse does not have to consent for a divorce to be granted on this basis.

The divorce petition is issued by the Court and sent to your spouse who must then return an Acknowledgement of Service form. The form is then provided to you or your solicitor who will be able to prepare your application for Decree Nisi. The Court will then issue a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree of Divorce which will detail when and where the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. You do not need to attend at Court.

Once the Decree Nisi has been granted the Petitioner must wait six weeks and one day before applying for Decree Absolute. It is possible to make this application straight away however, it is advisable for financial matters to be resolved before the marriage is ended by the grant of Decree Absolute.

Once the Certificate of Decree Absolute is granted, the divorce process is complete and your marriage has been dissolved. You will need to keep the original Decree Absolute in a safe place as you will need to produce it in future if you plan to remarry.

Does the reason for the divorce affect how the financial settlement is worked out?

Very rarely. In general, any financial settlement should be fair and give priority to the welfare and needs of any children. Behaving badly or committing adultery does not usually affect this. Behaviour may, of course, affect any agreement over who looks after any children and what contact is allowed.

Extreme behaviour may be taken into account, for example, if one partner’s violence has had a lasting effect on the other. If one partner recklessly or deliberately sabotages the financial position, for example, by spending recklessly or destroying assets, this could also be taken into account.

If you have any queries regarding a matter similar to this, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team of family law solicitors in Devon on 01392 207020.

FAQ Part 2

FAQ Part 3

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About the author

Aimee Aspinall

Associate of CILEx

Associate of CILEx in the Exeter family team