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family law specialists

Divorce Services from E J Coombs Solicitors

Divorce is the only way of legally dissolving a marriage.  Under English law there is only one ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  In order to prove that ground, it is necessary to prove one of the following facts:-

  • Adultery
  • Behaviour
  • Two years’ separation with the other party’s consent
  • Five years’ separation
  • Desertion

In many cases there will be more than one of these facts that are applicable.  Careful thought has to be given and advice taken on which is the most appropriate.

If a client wishes to divorce straight away, it is necessary usually to base this upon the fact of adultery or behaviour.  If a client wishes to pursue a divorce based upon separation, it is only possible to start the divorce proceedings once the appropriate period of separation has passed.  For example, if you wish to rely on the fact that you and your spouse have been separated for two years, it is only after the second anniversary of their separation that you can send the divorce papers into the court for processing.  There is no need to log the date of separation with any formal authorities but it is useful to agree that with your spouse and to note it down for your own records.

Although the reasons upon which a divorce can be sought are somewhat outdated, divorce need not be an aggressive move.  It is always possible to try and agree the contents of a divorce petition with your spouse beforehand in order to smooth the process over.

It is rare that the grounds set out in a divorce petition affect any other aspect of the case.  The divorce process is seen very much by the courts as simply a means of dissolving the marriage.  Nevertheless, the whole issue is emotionally charged and we are always sensitive to this and guide our clients in a way that feels comfortable to them.

To start a divorce, we need your original marriage certificate or a certified copy of the marriage certificate (obtainable from the Registrar of the district in which you were married).  We will also need some background information from you which we can discuss at either our initial meeting or a later meeting.

Provided divorce proceedings are undefended and straight forward they will take on average 6 – 8 months.  However, if there are disputes about the children and/or finances that will delay the final stage of the divorce.

The vast majority of divorces are dealt with by the courts on paperwork alone and there is very rarely any need to attend court about the divorce itself.  It is only when there is a dispute about the children and/or finances that an appearance at court may be necessary.