Divorce Facts: Family Law Divorce


A family law divorce is granted on the basis of a petition, where one party (the petitioner) presents an application for divorce which the other party (the respondent) may choose to either accept or defend. It is not possible to petition for divorce until a couple have been married for one year. There is one sole ground for divorce in family law and this is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to petition for divorce irretrievable breakdown must be proved using one of five facts. These are:

  • Adultery of the other spouse
  • Unreasonable behaviour of the other spouse
  • Continuous period of two years' desertion by the other spouse
  • The couple have lived apart for two continuous years and the other spouse consents to a family law divorce
  • The couple have lived apart for five continuous years: if this is the case then no consent is required from the other spouse

If none of the five facts is proved then a divorce cannot be granted. This is the case even if the court is convinced that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Seeking advice from a divorce solicitor will leave you best-placed in making an application for divorce.

Under family law a divorce decree is completed in two stages. First the decree nisi is declared and later the decree absolute is declared. It is only when the decree absolute is declared that the divorce is complete. Once the decree nisi is declared the petitioning spouse must wait for six weeks to pass to apply for a decree absolute. This is to allow time for the other spouse to appeal against the decree nisi. Obtaining legal advice from a divorce solicitor from the outset will mean all your questions and worries will be answered before embarking on this difficult process.

So if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local divorce solicitors please call us at 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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