Five Options for UK Divorce

If you feel that your marriage might be headed for a divorce, it is a wise idea to consult with a lawyer to find out what a divorce entails. UK attorney Irwin Mitchell (our guest blogger today) provides a variety of expertise in this area.

Unlike in America, a divorce can only be obtained in either England or Wales if you can prove your marriage has ended and cannot be repaired. A divorce petition can be filed through the court system. A couple must be married for at least one year and provide grounds for seeking the divorce. Your legal counsel can provide you with more specific information but there are generally five different grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery can be grounds for divorce if you discover that your spouse has had an extramarital affair. The petition must be made within six months of learning about the affair for it to be valid.   In the UK, ancient history is, well, ancient history. The adultery must be proven or admitted to by the cheating party – so good luck if you have a stubborn spouse.
  2. A second ground for divorce would be unreasonable behaviour. This is typically the most used grounds for divorce. A lot of reasons fall into this category. Let’s face it, if you are prepared to divorce your spouse, chances are there has been behaviour that you find unreasonable.  Plus, this is the only one of the five grounds not encumbered by a time limitation that many people find challenging.  But best seek legal advice as to what the courts consider unreasonable..
  3. Desertion is another reason for divorce. While it’s not commonly used, your spouse must have abandoned you for at least two years. After this time period elapses, the deserted party can file for divorce.  Unlike with adultery, you have no choice but to wait on this one.  If your spouse returns after a year and a half, you cannot use this option (maybe try “unreasonable behaviour” above?)
  4. Separation is another reason that one can file for divorce. If the separation occurred for a minimum of two years, then this is known as an uncontested divorce.   Yes, more waiting, but that is the law.
  5. On the other hand, if your spouse does not want the divorce, you can file for divorce if you’ve lived apart for at least five years. This is referred to as a contested divorce.  And this obviously is likely to be a messy option – not to mention one that requires a lot of patience.

The legal ramifications of divorce are many. Legal advice can help guide someone through this difficult process.

This guest post was written by Irwin Mitchell, who also handles personal injury cases and many other services. Get in touch with them if you happen to live in England or Wales.  And remember that the rules are vastly different in different countries.