Dissolving the Marriage: Breaking Down the Process in 6 Simple Steps

When couples get married, they think they will be together forever. However, some studies show that the euphoria of marriage wears off in just two years. While many couples can outlast the hard times, not all couples are so lucky. 

Luckily, we live in a time when divorces don’t carry quite the stigma they used to hold. In fact, divorces are pretty common. 

Despite being a common occurrence, the how-tos of divorce vary by country. Divorce solicitors can help advise you on how to file for a divorce in the UK

Requirements for a Divorce in the UK

One thing that can drastically differ depending on the region is the requirements needed to file for divorce. In the UK, the requirements include: 

  • Couple must be married at least one year
  • Both must be residents of England or Wales 
  • The original marriage certificate or copy, translated into English, must be presented
  • Either spouse can approve or defend the reason for divorce
  • A separate court order must be filed for separate assets, including finances

The above requirements are not necessarily complete. Local statutes may have additional requirements. 

6 Phases of Filing for Divorce

Once you’ve ensured that you meet all the requirements to file for divorce, you can move on to the next steps. 

The divorce rate in the UK is actually on the downswing from 2016. Statistics show that wives are more likely to begin divorce proceedings. However, fewer wives have filed in the last few years than the years prior. 

Regardless of whether the husband or wife initiates the divorce, there are six legal steps to divorcing in the UK. Married couples wishing to divorce must:

  1. Find a divorce solicitor. You can handle the divorce proceedings yourself, but navigating the legalities and necessary paperwork can be confusing. It’s best to hire a divorce solicitor who can remain objective. 
  2. Identify the reason for the divorce from the five available grounds or “facts.” The courts allow for only five reasons for divorcing your spouse. The reasons are sometimes called “facts.” They include desertion, adultery, unreasonable behavior, two years of separation (consent required from the spouse), or five years of separation (no consent from spouse required.)
  3. File a D8 divorce petition form. The petition form depends on the grounds for the divorce. Each of the five reasons listed above has its own form. The court fees and the original marriage certificate must be included with the D8 form. 
  4. Pay £550 in court fees. The divorce fee is usually paid by cheque and included in the D8 paperwork filing. 
  5. File a decree nisi application. If the courts and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree to the reason for the divorce, you are granted a decree nisi pronouncement. Only when granted the decree can you move on to the next and final step. 
  6. Apply for a decree absolute to legally end the marriage. There are a six-week and one day gap between the decree nisi pronouncement date and the decree absolute. The decree absolute is the official paperwork that ends the marriage. 

Divorce is Sad but Sometimes Inevitable

As mentioned in the requirements, the decree absolute doesn’t dissolve your financial ties to your spouse. A court filing to separate assets must be pursued after the decree absolute is approved. 

Divorce isn’t easy – emotionally or legally. However, in many cases, it is the only way to allow the pursuit of happiness. 

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