Monday, September 08, 2014

Family Lore Clinic: When can an uncontested divorce be launched in the UK?


The first thing to say here is that the law is not the same in all parts of the UK. In particular, Scotland has its own divorce laws. I can only speak for the law in England and Wales.

The second thing to say is that no divorce proceedings may be issued before the expiration of the period of one year from the date of the marriage. This is so whether or not the divorce is contested.

Which brings me on to my third point. Whether or not a divorce is contested does not, strictly speaking, affect when it can be issued. I suspect, however, that the asker of the question may have been referring to a divorce by consent, after two years' separation. In that case, of course, the divorce petition cannot be issued until the two year period has expired (the two year period can begin during the initial year of the marriage).

Similarly, if the divorce is to be on the basis that the parties have been separated for at least five years, then the divorce cannot be issued until the expiration of the five year period, and when (very unusually) the divorce is to be on the basis of two years' desertion then it cannot be issued until the expiration of the two year period.

Otherwise, if the divorce is to be on the basis of the other party's adultery or unreasonable behaviour, then it can simply be issued at any time after the expiration of the period of one year from the date of the marriage.

If you would like any further information or advice about when to issue divorce proceedings, you should consult an expert family lawyer.

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