Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Divorce - Procedure


Many people want to divorce because they simply don't love each other any more. Why not? It is important to think through your feelings and try to fix things. Unfortunately, by the time people consult a solicitor it is far too late to save their marriage.

It is NOT possible in English Law to get divorced because you have fallen out of love with each other. If you file for divorce you are known as the petitioner and your spouse is known as the respondent.


The only ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown and the Court can only make a finding if sufficient evidence is supplied as proof of one of the five facts:

1. Adultery
It is prudent only to proceed on this basis if the other side is prepared to sign a confession statement. If not, you could use their inappropriate behaviour with a third party as evidence for a behaviour petition.

2. Behaviour
The most popular petition. The behaviour cited needs to be sufficient that it is unreasonable to expect the petitioner to live with the respondent, given the petitioner's disposition. The latest incident of behaviour listed must be within 6 months of the filing of the petition, otherwise the behaviour is regarded as stale. There are a lot of standard complaints, lack of love and affection (woman's petition), lack of sex (man's petition), no help with housework (woman's petition), spends too much money on clothes (man's petition), loves her cat,dog,horse,goldfish more than me (man's petition), obsessed with the internet (woman's petition).

3. Desertion
Rarely used. It is necessary to show that the respondent has deserted the petitioner for at least 2 years with intent to bring cohabitation to a permanent end, without either just cause or the petitioner's consent.

4. 2 years separation
With the respondent's consent.

5. 5 years separation
Without the other party's consent. This is a long stop date and the respondent can expect a petition to be delivered 5 years and two weeks (allowing for court administration) after the date of separation.


It is possible to obtain a divorce without finalising the finances, but it is very unwise to do so, as the door is left open for your ex spouse to make a potential claim in the future. It is also unwise to proceed on a verbal agreement without finalising matters in a Consent Order, because people do change their mind........Especially women! (allegedly!)

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