The Justice Secretary has recently confirmed that divorce laws in England and Wales are to be reformed during the next session of parliament, removing the need to allocate blame for the collapse of a relationship. Until the law changes however, there is only one ground for divorce – irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The applicant spouse is called the petitioner and the other spouse, the respondent. The petitioner must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of the following facts:
Adultery – even if you have already separated
Unreasonable behaviour such that you cannot be expected to continue living with the other spouse
Two years’ separation (with consent)
Five years’ separation
There are two stages to the process: decree nisi and then decree absolute.
To finalise the finances there has to be an application for divorce. Ideally you want to agree the finances, convert the agreement into a consent order and, after the decree nisi has been granted, you can post the order into the court. If you cannot agree then the court will have to make the decisions for you. However this is costly and takes time. If you do not want to divorce right now then you can have a separation agreement drawn up.