Almost everyone knows someone who is divorced, going through a divorce or in need of advice about their position following the breakdown of a marriage,  but how many people know what is involved in a divorce?  Who can apply? When can they apply? What are the grounds for a divorce?  Hopefully this blog will help to cut through some of the many myths around divorce.


We should say right off the bat that the law is changing.  We expect that from April 2022 it will be possible to a have a “no fault” divorce.  However until then we must look at the law as is it is now.


Before a person can apply for a divorce they must have been married for at least 1 year and, for the divorce to be brought  in England or Wales, they must have a connection to  either country.  This connection is known as being either domiciled and/or habitually resident in England or Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have different divorce laws.  The vast majority of those who consult us will have no difficulty establishing this connection and in the few tricky cases we are able to provide advice as to the  position.


It doesn’t matter if the parties married outside of England and Wales but it will be necessary for an official marriage certificate and translation to be provided and the marriage must be valid in the country it was entered into in.


The person seeking the divorce must be able to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  To this at least one 5 facts must be proven.  These are :-


  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behavior
  3. Desertion
  4. 2 years separation with the consent of the other party
  5. 5 years separation


It very often makes little or no difference which fact is relied upon as it is rare for this to have an impact beyond the divorce proceedings, for example, in reaching the appropriate financial settlement.   As every divorcing couple’s circumstances are separate we  will advise  fully as to the most appropriate heading in each case.


Divorce presently comes in two main stages Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute.  It is very import to remember that a marriage is not legally dissolved until Decree Absolute has been granted.  There may be circumstances where it is in a person best interests to delay applying for Decree Absolute and we can provide the necessary specialist advice.  Typically this arises where there are financial issues to be resolved.  We will be covering the issue of finances on divorce in a future blog.


There is no substitute for expert legal advice and here a Alfred Newton we a team of dedicated family lawyers with decades of experience and expertise in all aspects of family law.    Please feel free to contact us to arrange a consultation on 0161 480 6551.