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Divorce Month: The 5 key things you need to know about divorce

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult and stressful times in your life.

Having a little background knowledge about how the divorce process works and what you could expect, can help you to prepare for the potentially challenging times ahead.

In our insight posts, we try to cover various elements of the divorce process that you may find useful.

In this insight, we’ve come up with 5 key things that could help to address some of your worries about what the divorce process entails:


You will need to provide a reason for your divorce

Although there have been various campaigns in recent years for a ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales, it remains the case that legally, you will need to cite a reason for your divorce.

The irretrievable breakdown of your marriage must be proven through either unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, two years separation (with consent) or five years separation (without consent).

You will then need to include this ‘fault’ on your divorce petition.

Court attendance is not usually necessary

Many people worry that they will need to attend court in order to get a divorce. If your divorce petition is uncontested, you will not need to go to court.

Agreeing the petition with your spouse before you file for divorce, can reduce the likelihood that you will need to attend court.


Your financial settlement is separate to your divorce

The divorce process and the process to settle your finances are two separate things and therefore, two different court applications will need to be made (although you cannot apply for a financial order without first applying for a divorce).

As we’ve mentioned in our previous posts, it’s the financial settlement that is usually the most complex and time-consuming part of the divorce process as a whole.


You will need to have been married for at least one year

In order to file for divorce in England and Wales, you need to have been married for at least one year.

However, it is never too early to get specialist legal advice from an experienced solicitor, especially if you are a high net worth individual with complex international assets and investments.


Divorce costs and timescale can vary

We’re often asked how long a divorce can take and how much it will cost. Unfortunately, this can vary significantly on both counts, as each person’s circumstances are unique. As a guideline, the divorce part of the process usually takes around 6 months. Reaching a financial settlement can take much longer, sometimes years.

Costs can also vary significantly, depending on whether or not you are able to resolve your financial settlement outside of court with solicitor-to-solicitor negotiations or mediation, for example, or whether you need to ask a court to decide your financial settlement for you.

Going through a divorce can, for many, be a very difficult and emotional process. Finding out what you can expect and gaining a better understanding of the legal processes involved, can help to put your mind at rest and better prepare you for what lies ahead.

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.


Contact us to see how we can help you with your divorce

For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email

We offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4HY

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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16th February 2017

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