Our matrimonial expert has prepared the following helpful guide for people who are considering divorce or separation. If you would like legal advice about divorce or separation, please contact Scotts Wright, and book an appointment with our family specialist, Allen Bailey.

Divorce & Separation FAQs

My Spouse and I aren't getting on - can we divorce?

In English law, you can only get divorced if you have been married for at least 12 months. There is only one ground for divorce, and that is that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.

However, to be able to show this, you will need to prove one of the following five facts:-

  1. That your spouse has committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with him/her because of this adultery.
  2. Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her.
  3. Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least 2 years.
  4. You and your spouse have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years and your husband/wife consents to a divorce being obtained.
  5. You and your husband/wife have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 5 years.

What do I need to start the ball rolling?

You will need your marriage certificate – either the original one or a certified copy.

If you were married abroad, you may need a certified translation of the marriage certificate as well.

You will also need to have the details to go into the petition – for example, your name, address, date of birth and occupation, together with the same information for your husband/wife.

You will have to be able to provide the Court with sufficient information so that it can reach the decision that your marriage has come to an end and that you are entitled to a decree of Divorce.

There is also a court fee to pay when you come to issue your petition.

How much will it cost?

Each case is unique, and the cost of the divorce will depend very much upon the level of co-operation between you and your spouse, and, of course, whether or not the divorce is contested.

Here at Scotts Wright we will make sure that you are kept fully up to date, throughout the progress of your divorce, in relation to your costs.

We have various ways in which your costs can be spread over the timeframe of the divorce itself, thus avoiding you having to pay all in one go.

We also accept payments by credit/debit card.

How long will it take?

On the basis that your divorce isn’t defended, and that the other party co-operates, and does what they need to do without delay, then the process through the Courts will take between 4 to 6 months.

However, there may be issues about finances or children which can delay the divorce, either for a few months or, in some cases, considerably longer.

We will be able to advise you about this during the process.

We don't want to divorce, but we do want to separate. What do we need to do?

There are a number of options open to you in these circumstances. The most immediate, and quickest, would be for yourself and your spouse to incorporate the issues you have agreed upon (for example, financial issues, and issues relating to the children) into a Separation Agreement.

This document will record how you intend to resolve such issues when/if you eventually divorce. It will carry a great deal of weight with the Judge on any subsequent divorce, but it isn’t necessarily binding.

If you are separated, but haven’t been able to agree financial issues, then you may want to consider the option of a Judicial Separation. To get a Judicial Separation, you need to show one of the 5 facts applicable in divorce proceedings, but you don’t have to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

With a Judicial Separation, you will never be divorced from your spouse, you will simply be released from your duty to cohabit with him/her.

If you haven’t reached agreement on financial matters, then you can go to Court, and ask the Judge to make a decision. The Court doesn’t have the same range of options, when dealing with finances, as it does in a divorce situation- for example, in relation to pension provision.

Also see the extensive page Jill has prepared on Divorce & Finances, which may answer your question about shared property and other assets.

If you’d like to find out more about your legal position in relation to divorce and separation, please book an appointment to see Jill Cameron at our Catterick Garrison office.