Starting Divorce Proceedings


By Alex Tomley


Deciding to issue divorce proceedings is a life changing decision. To issue divorce proceedings, a year must have elapsed from the date you were married. This rule cannot be waived in any circumstances. The family court can only deal with divorce proceedings where one or more of the following applies:


  • Both parties are habitually resident in England and Wales (i.e. where you live or spend the majority of your time)

  • Both parties were habitually resident in England and Wales and one still resides there.

  • The Respondent is habitually resident in England and Wales

  • The Petitioner is habitually resident in England and Wales and has lived there for 1 year immediately prior to the petition being filed.

  • The Petitioner is domiciled and habitually resident in England and Wales and has been residing these for at least 6 months immediately prior to the petition being filed.

  • Both parties are domiciled in England and Wales


What are the grounds for divorce?

The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To show this, the Petitioner must establish one of the following 5 acts:


  • Adultery

  • Unreasonable behaviour

  • Desertion

  • 2 years separation with consent

  • 5 years separation without consent


The Respondent can challenge that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by completing and returning the acknowledgement of service. Divorce proceedings then become defended and a different procedure is followed.


Contact us if you would like to arrange a free consultation with one of our Family Law Solicitors.

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