Divorce & Separation: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a quickie divorce?

The media sensationalises celebrity divorces as being ‘quickie’ divorces that are over in a matter of minutes. However, this part of the divorce is when the court pronounces the decree nisi. The reality is that the divorce process would have started several months before it reaches this point and there will be a further six weeks to wait until the divorce can be finalised.

Is there a no-fault divorce?

The closest to a no-fault divorce in England or Wales is for a couple who have lived apart for at least two years to then agree to divorce without any party being to blame.

You can divorce after living apart for five years even if one of you does not consent. 

If you have not been separated for the required time, you can divorce if one of the following applies:

  • That one of you has behaved unreasonably
  • That one of you has committed adultery

Can we divorce on the basis of ‘irreconcilable differences’?

Other countries allow for divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences but this is not possible in England or Wales, though there have been proposals to allow this.

What is the difference between divorce and separation?

Divorce legally ends your marriage but you can separate and agree how your finances and arrangements for children will be dealt with without divorcing.

We often find that people who have been married for less than two years do not want to blame each other and they choose to separate instead, and agree to divorce when they have been separated for two years. This can take the form of a separation agreement or judicial separation. A separation agreement is a document drawn up by lawyers whereas a judicial separation is a procedure dealt with by the courts.

Religious beliefs sometimes mean that people do not want to divorce but they want to sever financial ties with their spouse. Judicial separation is often the way people choose to deal with this.

Will I have to go to court?

There is no need to go to court for the divorce procedure itself as long as the divorce is not challenged. Similarly there will be no need for you to go to court if you both agree on a financial settlement or arrangements for your children.

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