How do I start divorce proceedings?
To begin divorce proceedings you need to have been married for more than one year. You must then file a Divorce Petition at Court stating the marriage has 'irretrievably broken down'. This must be based on one of five grounds:
- Adultery by your husband or wife (same sex couples cannot rely on this fact)
- Unreasonable behaviour by your husband or wife
- Two years' separation with the consent of your husband or wife
- Five years' separation (no consent required)
- Desertion by your husband or wife
You will also need to file your original marriage certificate with the Court (or a certified copy) and pay an issue fee (currently £550) to start proceedings. If you both agree that the divorce should proceed undefended the procedure is relatively simple and does not require attending Court. If the divorce is defended (which is rare) you will need to attend Court.
The Court makes no orders in relation to children unless one of the parties issues an application for an order. Financial matters will need to be resolved as part of the divorce proceedings and it is essential to take specialist advice at an early stage on this.