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Divorce meaning explained

When a marriage comes to an end, getting a divorce is the most common next step. If you’re considering getting a divorce, understanding divorce meaning and how this legal process works, will help to make the next few months as stress-free as possible.


Divorce meaning: what is divorce?

Divorce is the legal process which officially brings a marriage to an end. Getting a divorce means that you will no longer be married to your ex-partner and are free to remarry if you want to.

You will only be able to get a divorce if you have been married for a minimum of 1 year.


Divorce means that your marriage has irretrievably broken down

In order to get a divorce in England and Wales, you have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. In essence, getting a divorce means that your relationship has ended and can’t be saved.

There are five ‘reasons’ for divorce, meaning that you have to give one of these five reasons as to why your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

These are unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, separation for at least 2 years (with the consent of your spouse) and separation for at least 5 years (no consent necessary).

Divorce meaning


What does divorce mean for me?

Divorce means that you will officially no longer be married. However, divorce does not mean that all financial ties with your spouse are automatically severed.

It is very important to make this distinction between divorce meaning and financial settlement meaning. And it is equally important that both sides are dealt with.


Divorce meaning does not include the financial side of things

In order to achieve a clean break from your spouse, you will need to deal with how you will split your assets and any debts. Divorce means your marriage is dealt with, but does not include breaking financial ties with each other. Dealing with your finances is separate to the divorce process. However, it often runs concurrently with it.


Getting a divorce does not have to mean going to court

Many people worry that divorce means that they will have to attend court. However, if you and your spouse agree on the divorce and can reach an agreement about your financial settlement, going to court should not be necessary.


Divorce: meaning of mediation

Many people find the mediation process can help them to reach an agreement on anything they and their spouse do not see eye to eye about.

Mediation involves an independent third party (known as a ‘mediator’) aiding discussions between both parties, with the aim of reaching an agreement about anything from child arrangements to who will get the family home.

Collaborative law, where both parties and their respective solicitors meet to discuss a way forward, can also help those who are struggling to reach an agreement.


Divorce means compromise

Arguably most importantly, both parties should go into the divorce process with the knowledge that compromises will have to be made. Otherwise, negotiations can stall and lengthy and costly court battles can ensue.

Having an experienced solicitor to guide you through divorce, means that you can focus on getting your divorce done and planning for your future.


Thinking about how to apply for a divorce?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to divorce, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on your divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors 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: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

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

Please contact us for more details.

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09th December 2020

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