Divorce Lawyers


Guiding and supporting you through your divorce

Whether you have made a firm decision that your marriage is over or are unsure as to your future, it is often helpful to be aware of the basic facts of divorce.

Relationship breakdowns are often a time of emotional hardship and we will guide and support you through the process to make it as stress free as possible.

A divorce can only be started after you have been married for one year and then you must show the court that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down” relying on one of five facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years separation where both of you agree to the divorce
  • Five years separation
  • Desertion

Where to start divorce proceedings and when

When you start divorce proceedings you tell the court the basis upon which you are applying for a divorce in a document called a Petition. A divorce petition will also set out basic details about your marriage. The petition for divorce must be accompanied by your original marriage certificate and the court fee. The person who starts the divorce proceedings is called the Petitioner and the other person the Respondent.

If the Respondent agrees to the divorce he or she will return to the court a form confirming this. Once this has been received, the Petitioner can apply to the court for Decree Nisi. This is the first decree of divorce. It does not bring the marriage to an end. After six weeks, the Petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute or final decree of divorce. It is the Decree Absolute which ends the marriage. If the Petitioner fails to apply for the Decree Absolute, the Respondent may apply after a further three months.

Although divorce procedure can appear to be fault-based, as one person must apply for the divorce and the other respond, the Courts are keen to promote an amicable divorce whenever possible. Save in exceptional circumstances it is wise to draft a petition for divorce in a way that will minimise the potential areas of dispute between you. So far as is possible it is best to try and agree the details of this document before issue.

It is rare that applications for divorce are challenged in any significant way but family law practice Rayden Solicitors will be able to advise on the best way forward if this becomes an issue.

Where to issue

Increasingly individuals live abroad, work abroad or marry a partner from abroad. As a general rule of thumb the person that issues first secures the jurisdiction of their choice. Over recent years England and Wales have become known as the divorce capital of the world because of the Court’s desire to ensure that results are fair and parties’ needs are met.  If you or your partner have a connection to more than one country and you are considering divorce, you should contact Rayden Solicitors, family law specialists and expat divorce solicitors in St Albans, Berkhamsted and Guildford.

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If you would like to make an appointment or have any questions, please call 01727 734260 or fill in the enquiry form below.

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