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If you have married abroad and now wish to divorce then you can apply for a divorce in England / Wales but you must have been domiciled or habitually resident in England or Wales for one year to apply for a divorce.
You should also consider counselling or other alternatives to save your relationship before you decide to commence divorce proceedings.
Download 'Divorce and Separation: your rights if you marriage breaks down' [PDF] which gives you an outline of your legal position if you are married and considering separation or divorce.
What do I do first?
Before even thinking about starting divorce proceedings you should ensure you are fully informed - it is important you are aware of the procedures and your rights.
Download NFM's 'Separation Information Pack' [PDF].
The Five Grounds for Divorce
- Adultery - if your spouse had an affair and you find it intolerable to live with him or her.
Unreasonable behaviour - when your spouse has behaved in such a way that you could not reasonably be expected to continue to live with him or her.
- Desertion - based on your spouse leaving you without agreement or good reason for two years or more.
Two years separation if both parties agree - if you have lived apart from each other for two years or more and your spouse consents to the divorce.
Five years separation - if you have lived apart for five years or more you can apply for a divorce even if your spouse does not agree.
What do I do next?
Your marriage is in question and you're facing a real dilemma. You may be the one who is deciding should you stay or should you go. Whether a couple is starting the divorce process or even just contemplating a divorce, they need to first identify with the following divorce dilemmas
The Three Divorce Dilemmas
Couples who are facing the possibility of a divorce face one of three dilemmas:
- I want the divorce, but I am not sure if it is the right decision
Since going through a divorce impacts the lives of your children, as well as your lifestyle, economics, and marital investment, the pressure to make the "perfectly correct" decision is enormous.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. The best case scenario is to make a decision that is not emotionally based, nor driven by your ego.
- I do not want the divorce, my spouse does.
Being in this reactive place will leave you feeling out of control and a helpless victim. You will experience intense emotional devastation, as your life will be changing before your eyes without you having any say in the outcome.
In addressing this dilemma you need to ask yourself if you are clinging to staying on familiar, safe ground and to a marriage based on illusions.
It is not easy to acknowledge and confront the problems in a marriage, when you are feeling so hurt by your partner.
- I only want this divorce because my marriage is not working
If this is your dilemma, then you will want to avoid responsibility at all costs by seeing your partner to blame for the demise of the marriage. There will be tremendous preoccupation and anger about how your partner caused you to make this decision.
The amount of noise generated from this blaming will be in direct proportion to your unwillingness to risk expressing any of your own fears and sadness.
If this doesn't occur, the divorce proceedings to follow will be riddled with tension and conflict, and a continuation of the blaming.
The common element in all three dilemmas is fear.
In the first group there is a fear of making a mistake and being incorrect, the second will hide from it by denying that there are any problems or admitting their attachment to the familiar and the third group will fear any accountability and softness.
The result in all three circumstances will be dragging, combative, and back and forth divorces.
Before you do
For divorce to be a respectful process, the couple must be prepared and ready to separate their lives on all levels: legally, practically and emotionally.
To do this each person must face their divorce dilemma by answering the following 8 questions.
It is our experience that people who prepare themselves by first addressing all 8 questions are more likely to have a divorce with more positive outcomes. By starting the process in this way they are much better able to make lasting agreements with each other, resolve their difficulties and develop parenting plans that both supports the children and respects each other's rights.
Taking the first step
There is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The court will need evidence proving the ground for divorce.
Evidence of the breakdown has to be shown by proving one of the following:
The first two facts do not involve waiting a period of time and are often referred to as a "quickie divorce". The process in fact takes the same length of time which is usually about 6 months from the date divorce proceedings are issued until the date of the final decree.
When you do get a divorce the court will be able to make orders about financial and property matters too if one of you makes an application. If you have children you will need to fill in a detailed form about your children’s circumstances and the arrangements you both have made for them. Usually you do not need to appear in court personally to get a divorce.
Your evidence is set out in a document called a petition. If you file for divorce you are called the petitioner and your husband or wife is called the respondent.
If you think you can handle the paperwork for the divorce yourself then there are many places on the net where you can download the forms, including Quickie-Divorce and Managed Divorce.
If your divorce is going to be complicated involving large assets, custody of children, an unpleasant ex-spouse or you simply don't want to deal with your ex then you are better using mediation involving a family solicitor at this stage who will provide legal advice on these matters.
If you are using an online service you can fill the forms online, otherwise they are sent to court and one copy is then sent to your ex partner.
Early Intervention: Family Mediation as the better alternative
The actual process of separating and online casino is relatively straightforward, and can be resolved by mediating the outcome. However, few couples manage to do this, because they are scared, they don't understand the process or the legal raminifications and their relationship can be highly emotional, lacking in trust or to put it plainly, just a battleground.
To protect themslves, most couples turn to solicitors in the hope of getting as good a deal as they can. Solicitors are not allowed to act for both sides, as they are obliged to act in their client' best interests and there would be a conflict of interests.
Therefore, separating couple has to use two separate sets of lawyers, and the bills soon mount up. This is at a time when the income and wealth of one household has to be stretched to provide for two
Government has been aware of these problems for some time, and the Family Law Act 1996 was brought in to steer more people into mediation to resolve the problems of divorce and separation.
Family Mediation is the most widely practiced form of mediation in the UK and has many successes. Many practitioners work for charitable or 'not for profit' organisations, making them amongst the least expensive options. There are schemes for those with very limited wealth and low incomes, which are effectively free to clients as their costs are centrally funded. Timescales for those using mediation are usually much more limited than long and drawn out court proceedings, which make family mediation an attractive alternative. Without doubt, Family Mediation provides an extremely valuable and necessary service, especially to those who could not afford a more expensive alternative.
Finally, here are two quotes which prove the worth of family mediation as an alternative:
The first is from The Which? Guide to Divorce. "Couples who have successfully resolved their disputes wisely, efficiently and cost effectively through mediation certainly need no convincing of its benefits in comparison to costly, time consuming, antagonistic litigation processes which lead only to superficial victories".
The second is from Lord Woolf who said "Skilled mediators are now able to achieve results satisfactory to both parties in many cases which are quite beyond the powers of the lawyers and the courts to achieve".
Download information on divorce:
- Download a guide on Children and Divorce published by Her Majesty’s Court Service.
- Download a guide to Divorce published by Her Majesty’s Court Service.
- I want to get a divorce. Where do I start? published by Her Majesty’s Court Service.
- I have a decree nisi and / or the respondent has replied to my petition.
Download an App for your smartphone.This app from HG Appstore, provides a detailed yet easy to understand step by step guide to the law and the divorce process and provides links to sources of information. It information to anyone considering divorce or separation and who wants to be better informed about the process. Click here for more information. Nominated by The Sunday Times as "Best Legal Advice App"