Is adultery grounds for divorce?
Not directly. Adultery is one of the five facts that can be used to demonstrate an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, which is essential if you want to divorce your spouse.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales, which is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Before a divorce can be allowed it needs to be demonstrated that a relationship has reached the point where it can no longer be saved. This can be done through proving one of the following ‘facts’, in support of your divorce:
Two years’ separation without consent
Five years’ separation (with or without consent)
Specific conditions apply to each of the above. For this reason, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a qualified divorce solicitor before taking any action.
It is also important to note that you will need to have been married for at least 1 year before applying for a divorce.
How long does a divorce take in the UK?
In England & Wales, for straightforward divorce cases where both parties agree to a divorce (uncontested divorce) – the process can take between 4 – 6 months; however, that does not include cases where couples disagree on financial and child arrangements. On average for most couples, the whole process takes approximately one year, though it is impossible to predict exactly. Talking through your situation and goals with a divorce solicitor will help give a clearer picture of estimated duration.
Our guide to getting divorced (PDF download) shows the main stages with timescales where
applicable.Scotland and Norther Ireland have different procedures. We advise you seek guidance on timescales from a firm within those jurisdictions if needed.
How to prevent unnecessary delays in your divorce
- Agree with your spouse on the reason for divorcing. Not doing so will risk a contested divorce which is more difficult, drawn out and usually more expensive than uncontested divorce
- Make the first step – often the biggest challenge. Any deserves careful consideration, but its important to think carefully and decide if the relationship can be saved or is worth saving. It’s not uncommon for people to take over a year between first feeling that they want a divorce and seeking help and filing for divorce.
- Agree on as much as you possibly can with your spouse, including children, finances, the family home, pensions, business interests and other assets. This will dramatically smooth the divorce process for both applicant and respondent, by reducing time negotiating with the help of a solicitor. It also reduces the possibility of having to go to court which often slows things down and increases costs.
- Get divorce paperwork in on time and be meticulous with it. Any mistakes can cause delays, and in the case of financial disclosure, mistakes can result in penalties.
What are decree nisi and decree absolute?
Decrees nisi and absolute are the two stages in legally ending a marriage. Decree nisi is a provisional decree that the court pronounces when it is satisfied that the applicant has met the legal requirements to obtain a divorce. Decree nisi does not legally end a marriage and the spouses can still change their minds at this point.
Decree absolute legally dissolves a marriage. Decree absolute can be applied for after a minimum of 6 weeks and one day after the date decree nisi is pronounced. There are some exceptions to this.
For civil partnerships the process is similar, but with different terminology: conditional order (nisi) and final order (absolute).
More information on decree nisi and absolute.
More information on the divorce process.
If you have any more questions, we encourage you to read our divorce FAQ section.
If you are ready to speak to someone, you can make a first, strictly confidential enquiry to our Client Care Team…