020 3372 5125 Email us today
Enquire today

Divorce can be an extremely difficult time for both parties and can also be draining especially when there is a division of assets. Despite the emotional and financial strain that a divorce can cause, divorce is on the rise. According to the Office for National Statistic, in 2014 there were 247,372 marriages however, 111,169 ended in divorce. Further figures released indicate that divorce increased by 5.8% in 2016 in the UK. These figures are quite concerning however, continuing a marriage that is no longer bringing happiness to both parties can be terribly distressing and as such, it is worth outlining the reasons commonly relied upon in the UK in order to begin divorce proceedings in the Family Court.

One of the main points to initially note is that an individual can only petition for a divorce if he/she has been married for at least one year in addition, to the fact that the marriage must also be a legally recognised marriage in the UK.

To successfully file a divorce petition in the Family Court, the petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) must demonstrate that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. In order to establish that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, the petitioner can rely on any of the 5 following grounds:

  1. unreasonable behaviour;
  2. adultery;
  3. two years separation with consent from the respondent;
  4. five years separation, no consent required; or
  5. desertion.

What does each ground for divorce entail?

In order to rely on unreasonable behaviour, which is the most common ground, the petitioner must clearly demonstrate that their spouse has behaved in such an unacceptable manner that he/she cannot be reasonably expected to continue their marriage with their spouse. Unreasonable behaviour can be inclusive of, but not limited to, abusive behaviour, carelessness towards finances or lack of affection and consideration. There may be various examples of unreasonable behaviour and as such, it can at times depend on each case and whether the behaviour was an isolated incident or a regular occurrence. The regularity of a behaviour obviously does not apply to allegations of domestic abuse, whether psychological or physical.

Contact us if you are unsure of whether a certain behaviour constitutes unreasonable behaviour. We have a dedicated team of family law specialists with extensive experience in this area who can guide you through this difficult time in a professional, fast and friendly manner.

If a petitioner is relying on the ground of adultery, he/she must prove that their spouse had sexual intercourse with an individual of the opposite gender which has made it intolerable for the petitioner to continue residing with their spouse. In certain circumstances, an affair may not have included sexual intercourse and as such, adultery cannot be relied upon. The petitioner can instead rely on unreasonable behaviour.  It is vital to note that in order to rely on the ground of adultery, the petitioner must file for divorce within six months of becoming aware of the adultery, unless the adultery has continued. A petitioner is not able to rely on their own adultery to petition for divorce, this will be an invalid petition.

A further ground is two years separation which in order to be relied upon, requires the petitioner to establish that they have been separated from their spouse for a minimum of two years and their spouse also agrees with the petition for divorce. It is not possible to rely on this ground if the other spouse disagrees with the petition for divorce.

Similar to the above reason for divorce, is the five years separation which requires the petitioner to have lived separately from their spouse for a minimum of five years. However, the difference in this instance is that the other spouse is not required to agree to the divorce. This means that a petition for divorce can be filed without the other spouse’s agreement or consent.

The final and least relied upon ground for divorce is desertion which requires a spouse to have abandoned the petitioner for a minimum but continuous period of two years. This ground is usually avoided as it can be very difficult to successfully prove as the petitioner must establish their spouse deserted them with the intention of divorcing.

 What is the next step?

Once an individual has been able to identify the most suitable ground for divorce, he/she can file a divorce petition at the Family Court by completing form D8 or alternatively, this can be done online. There is a fee of £550 to apply for a divorce and the petitioner is required to also provide their original marriage certificate.

If the application is correct, a copy of the application and an acknowledgement of service form will be sent to the other party who would be referred to as the respondent. The acknowledgement of service form is usually sent in order to provide the other party with an opportunity to defend the petition however, the form must be returned within eight days.

The next step would be to apply for a decree nisi which is a legal document confirming that there are no reasons as to why the divorce should not be finalised. In circumstances where the respondent does not agree with the divorce, the couple will need to attend a court hearing.

The final step is to obtain a decree absolute however, this document can only be applied for six weeks and one day after the date that the decree nisi was issued.  A decree absolute basically confirms that the divorce has been finalised, it is a legal document confirming the divorce and thus allowing both parties to remarry in the future.

Contact us if you are currently in the process of filing a divorce petition and you require further guidance especially when children are involved.

Please call us on 020 3372 5125 or get an online consultation




    Contact our experts in Family department
    Family department - Solicitor
    For legal advice
    call us today
    020 3372 5125
    Or complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment




      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Dealing with Rakhi was more like having In house counsel than hiring a law firm
      So Rakhi Singal of RVS has just handled my divorce, it was a very complex case and I came to Rakhi at the very last minute on a friend’s recommendation. My case was a mess and I stood to lose everything.

      Dealing with Rakhi was more like having In-House counsel than hiring a law firm, she does not approach her clients as a cash machine like many law firms do, she works with you to manage and minimise your costs and de-escalate conflict rather than throw wood on the fire.

      She took a huge personal interest in my case, she was always available on the phone, very quick to respond to emails and is very honest and trustworthy.

      My ex had huge spending power and used a team of high profile solicitors against me, Rakhi literally saved me from complete ruin and helped me get a very fair deal with me spending 6 times less than my ex on legal fees.

      Thank you, my new family and I will be forever grateful!!!!
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Rakhi’s passion for her profession supersedes the norm
      On dealing with a very stressful and emotional situation involving my young child. I was personally directed to Rakhi Singal. From the very outset of my situation, Rakhi identified the immediate difficulties I faced and offered me a sympathetic and rational approach to my situation, ensuring that she had a full understanding of my issues and concerns. Rakhi’s approach to my case was monumental and customary to my needs and that of my child, which was a fundamental point for me.

      The communication and support I received in and outside of court was nothing short of extraordinary. Rakhi’s passion for her profession supersedes the norm and is clearly demonstrated through her results.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Really impressed with Rakhi’s dedication to our case
      Could not be more pleased with the results!

      I approached RVS solicitors as they were highly recommended and now I completely understand why. Soon as I contacted Rakhi I knew I wanted to use her, she was so professional and easy to get along with. I was faced with clients who were refusing the pay invoices, Rakhi immediately reassured me that she was able to help me and recoup these costs. She dealt with the whole process very professionally.

      Really impressed with Rakhi’s dedication to our case and her knowledge and experience on dealing with the case. She communicated with us throughout the process, providing me with regular updates. Thank you so much, I cannot vouch for her work enough and RAW Invites are happy for you to continue to act for all their matters in the future.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      Very detailed advice, friendly and approachable
      Excellent service for my wife's spousal visa from Lusine: very detailed advice, friendly and approachable. Also flexible in contact by email and provided an excellent cover letter.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She is professional, intelligent, hard worker and cheerful!
      I highly recommend Dr. Lusine Navasardyan, as she is professional, intelligent, hard worker and cheerful, she helped us from the beginning of our case until the very end, when she prepared a strong bundle with over 385 pages, which helped us get a successful victory in our Asylum case . I strongly recommend her as I really appreciate all the professional work that she has done . Many thanks to her.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She has been very professional and a reliable person
      Dr. Lusine has been working on my case. She has been very professional and a reliable person. She was always attending to my queries and she has always been very friendly throughout my case.
      What Our Clients
      Say About Us
      Testimonials
      She is very professional while creating a friendly and comforting relationship with her clients
      I am very happy with the level and quality of service I got from Dr. Lusine Navasardyan. She is very professional while creating a friendly and comforting relationship with her clients. The service from Lusine was professional,efficient and well organised. Lusine worked extremely hard at resolving my all issues while getting the best result.