You can contact us if you are seeking legal help from family law solicitors in London, Manchester or Birmingham in relation to your divorce application (petition) in the UK and our team of family law solicitors will provide you fast, friendly, reliable, honest and professional legal services for your divorce petition.


When Can You Get Divorce In The UK?

You can get divorced in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been married for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)
  • the UK is your permanent home, or the permanent home of your husband or wife

If you do not want a divorce, you can get a legal separation so you can live apart without ending the marriage. You might also be able to annul the marriage. You can apply for separation or annulment during your first year of marriage.

What Are Various Grounds For Divorce?

When you apply for a divorce you’ll need to prove that your marriage has broken down irretrievably and cannot be saved. This means that either one or both of you feel that you cannot stay married to each other. Either of you may apply to the court in England and Wales for the marriage to be dissolved as long as you have been married for one year at least and that one of you has been a resident here for the year before your application is made. The application to the court is called a Petition and the spouse who files (sends) the Petition is called the Petitioner. The other spouse is then called the Respondent. You’ll need to give one or more of the following 5 reasons (also known as ‘facts’).

There are 5 grounds for divorce which are as follows:

  • Adultery - Your husband or wife had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex (committed adultery). and you find it intolerable to live with him or her. In most cases you prove adultery by your husband or wife admitting it. If not, you will need to speak to your family law solicitor. If you carry on living with your husband or wife for more than six months after you find out about the adultery, you will generally not be able to use this as ground for divorce unless the adultery is continuing.
  • Unreasonable Behaviour - Your husband or wife has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her. This covers all sorts of bad behaviour. You need to think about the main things that have made your husband or wife difficult to live with. These are summed up in the petition (the application for divorce) in a few short paragraphs. Our team of family law solicitors will aim to send a draft copy to your spouse or his/her appointed family law solicitors for an agreement. As with adultery, you cannot rely on single event that took place more than six months before you file your petition, if you have lived together since then. The examples of unreasonable behaviour could include:
    • physical violence;
    • verbal abuse, such as insults or threats
    • drunkenness or drug-taking
    • refusing to pay towards shared living expenses
  • Desertion Of The Petitioner By The Respondent - Your husband or wife has deserted you for a period of more than two years. Desertion means leaving your husband or wife without his or her agreement and without good reason. The petitioner can apply for divorce on the grounds that the Respondent deserted the petitioner more than 2 years ago and the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  • 2 Years Separation And Respondent Consenting To Divorce - You have lived separately for more than two years and your husband or wife (the respondent to the divorce petition) consents to the divorce. This is often called a 'no-fault' divorce. You can have had periods of living together as long as they do not add up to more than six months and you have been apart for least two years altogether. Your husband or wife must agree in writing. It may be possible for you to show that you’ve been separated while living in the same home as your wife or husband as long as you’re not living together as a couple (for example you sleep and eat apart).
  • 5 Years Separation - You have lived separately for more than 5 years. Your husband or wife who is repondent to the divorce petition does not need to agree to this. The Respondent cannot defend the divorce petition on this ground but he/she can ask the court not to grant the final decree because of a major financial or other type of hardship.

What Is The Step By Step Procedure For Getting Divorced In The UK?

Following is the step by step procedure for getting divorced in the UK:

  1. The petitioner would file the divorce petition in the court by completing application form D8 and send the form with the relevant enclosures to the court;
  2. Within a few days of getting the divorce petition, the court would write to the petitioner or his/her divorce solicitors confirming the receipt of the divorce petition;
  3. The court will then send a copy of your divorce petition to your spouse (respondent). If your spouse has instructed divorce solicitors to act for him/her, a copy of the divorce petition would be sent to them. If you applied for divorce on adultery grounds and named the other party who committed adultery with your spouse, a copy of the divorce petition would also be sent to such other named party;
  4. Within 8 days of receiving the divorce petition, the respondent is required to send a reply by post to your divorce petition stating whether or not he/she intends to contest the divorce. You must respond within 7 days in case of online response where the divorce was filed by your spouse online;
  5. If your spouse (respondent) does not contest the divorce, you can then apply for decree nisi. If your spouse does contest the divorce, you’re still able to apply for decree nisi, but you’ll need to attend a court hearing where your case will be discussed. A family court judge will then decide whether to grant you a decree nisi. If your divorce petition is approved by the court, you and your spouse (respondent) will be sent certificates stating the time and date when divorce will be granted. If your divorce petition is rejected, you may be sent a form called a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ giving reasons why you are not permitted to divorce. This form will also tell you what steps to take next. For example, you might be asked to provide additional information or you might be required to attend a hearing.;
  6. After 6 weeks and 1 day of decree nisi being granted by the court, you can then apply for a decree absolute. Before applying for a decree absolute, you have to submit a financial settlment application if there are assets and money of which settlement is required; Once you have decree absolute, you are officially divorced and no longer married.

How long does the divorce process take?

This varies from court to court and from case to case, depending on the complexity of the case. An uncontested divorce can take from 4 to 6 months whereas a contested and complicated divorce can take much longer than 6 months and time would vary depending on the complexity of the matter.

How Sunrise Solicitors Can Help You With Your Divorce Petition?

Divorce and separation is a very difficult decision to make and should never be taken lightly. Our team of family law solicitors is aware of the sensitivity in this matter and every individual is in a different situation. To make your life easier, you can seek expert legal help from the family law solicitors at Sunrise Solicitors. Our team of family law solicitors are highly trained and experienced in all aspects of divorce law and will guide and support you each step of the way. We will cut through the legal jargon and ensure you understand exactly what’s happening at all times. Our team of expert family law solicitors will provide the required legal help and guidance with step by step procedure for getting divorced in the UK.

Our team of family law solicitors will advise and assist to cater for your individuals needs. We will discuss the possible grounds on which you can apply for divorce after gathering all the factual information from you. We will explain to you the court procedures in very simple and clear terms and fully guide you through the procedures and carry out all the follow up work until the Decree Absolute is issued by the family court.

What Are The Fees/Legal Costs For Divorce In The UK?

The costs involved in getting divorced in the UK are as follows:

Our Fees

  • Our team of family law solicitors will charge a fee from £700 + VAT in relation to your divorce petition where the application for divorce is not contested by the Respondent (uncontested divorce);
  • Our team of family law solicitors will charge on hourly rate basis with hourly rate starting from £130 + VAT per hour in relation to your divorce petition where the divorce matter is either complicated or is being contested by the respondent (contested divorce). The agreed hourly rate will be dependent on the complexity of the matter.

Court Fees

  • The court fee for filing divorce in the family court is £550 which has to be paid at the time of filing for divorce. Petitioners with very low income may qualify for court fee exemption.

Sunrise Solicitors is the trading name of Sunrise Solicitors Ltd (company registration no. 6405492). Sunrise Solicitors Offices are regulated by SRA under SRA ID 490903 (London Office) and SRA ID 645256 (Manchester Office). Sunrise Solicitors are also members of Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA).

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