Divorce is the legal process by which a marriage is ended. This is necessary because marriage itself is a process whereby the financial and legal affairs of two people are joined together. The legal process of divorce separates the two so that they are fully independent again.

Reasons for Divorce

According to UK law, a couple must meet certain criteria in order to get divorced. Specifically, they must have a "justifiable reason" for divorce. For instance, desertion applies where one partner leaves the family home without the couple agreeing to separate. Unreasonable behaviour such as abuse or addiction is also considered a justifiable reason. Adultery is always considered a justifiable reason, as long as the couple don’t continue to live together after the adultery occurred. And finally, if a couple has lived apart for two years or more, they are considered separated, which is itself a justifiable reason.

The Divorce Process

There are three stages in the divorce process:

  1. The first step is for one party to file a divorce petition with the court, which names a justifiable reason for the divorce.

  2. Next, one party must apply for a decree nisi. This is a legal document that verifies there is no legal reason that the divorce can’t proceed.

  3. When the decree nisi is grated there is a six-week waiting period, after which it is converted into a divorce absolute, providing no objections are made. Once the divorce absolute has been granted, the marriage is legally over.

Dispute Resolution in Divorce

Divorce doesn’t always proceed smoothly, and it’s not uncommon for disputes to arise over issues such as child custody or asset distribution. When these disputes arise, the UK legal system requires that the disputing couple try to resolve their differences out of court via a method such as mediation or collaborative law.

These are called alternative methods of dispute resolution, and involve one or more meetings between the divorcing couple, along with their solicitors. In mediation a trained mediator is also present, to help the couple find a solution they’re both happy with.

If the divorcing couple aren’t able to resolve their dispute, they are then able to apply to the courts for further help.

Divorce Resources

Avenue Solicitors - Divorce Solicitor in London (Ealing) in the UK. specialises in family law matters.


If any students wish to contribute to this section or add relevant subsections related to divorce laws and the processes involved please do so through the university portal by updating Resource No.00032.