In a recent case, a woman who wanted to get a divorce, claiming a loveless marriage, was prevented from doing so. This meant she would have to be separated for five years before she could be granted a divorce. This is at odds with some people’s perception, where they see divorce as easily granted. This leads to an interesting question- how easy is it to get a divorce in the UK?
The quickest answer to the question “How easy is to get a divorce in the UK?” is “it depends.” Crucially, what it depends on are the people involved in the relationship- essentially, granting a divorce is a lot easier if both parties mutually agree to it.
You need to pay an application fee. Typically, this can take over 4 months. If you can both agree on this, it may be possible for the whole process to be doing outside the courts and without requiring legal representation.
Grounds for divorce
If one of the parties involved does not want a divorce, this can get a bit more complicated. In this instance, you will need to be able to prove there are grounds for divorce. There are five main aspects to be aware of. If you can prove a partner has had an affair, then this is usually strong grounds for a divorce to be granted.
A more subjective term is “unreasonable behaviour.” This can include physical, mental and emotional abuse, restricting finances or other forms of controlling or negative behaviour that a judge may recognise.
If your partner has left you or you have lived apart from your partner for more than five years, then this can be granted (it is two years if the other partner agrees to the divorce).
In some cases, a person may want to leave their partner, but may not be able to because their religion does not allow divorce. Equally, you may be unsure that you want a divorce. Therefore, a year’s legal separation may be the first step while deciding if you want to separate further or if you have been married for less than a year.
In all of these instances, you will need to fill in form D8 to get the legal separation process going (you will also need to pay a fee).
Another possible alternative is to have your marriage annulled. This can be granted if it is felt you were forced into a marriage, another partner was already married, or the marriage wasn’t consummated (you didn’t have sex with your partner during the marriage). As with a divorce or separation, you can fill in a form and pay a fee.
Divorce can be a difficult and stressful process. If you are concerned and would like to know more, we have a number of specialist legal processes that can go over it with you, giving you an idea of whether or not you will be granted a divorce. For more information or to discuss your legal situation in more detail, please contact us today.