How do I start divorce proceedings?
To begin divorce proceedings you need to have been married forat least a year. Either one of the parties can file a Divorce Petition with the Court stating the marriage has 'irretrievably broken down'. This must be based on one of five grounds:
- Adultery by the other party (same sex couples cannot rely on this fact)
- Unreasonable behaviour by the other party
- Two years' separation with the consent of the other party
- Five years' separation (no consent required)
- Desertion by your husband or wife
The original marriage certificate must be filed with the court (or a certified copy) and a fee paid (currently £550) to start the proceedings. If you both agree the divorce should proceed undefended the procedure is relatively simple and does not require attending court.
Financial matters will need to be dealt with as part of these proceedings to provide for the needs of both parties and any children. A range of orders can be made eg in relation to pensions, housing, maintenance. You may need assistance to resolve such matters as who the children live with.