An application for a divorce can be made at any time after the expiration of the period of one year from the date of the marriage.
There is one ground for divorce: that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
The divorce is begun by an application to the court, which can be made by one or both parties to the marriage. The application must be accompanied by a statement by the applicant or applicants to the effect that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The court must accept the statement as evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
It should be noted that there can only be a defence to a divorce in limited circumstance, but these are technical matters. For the most part, presenting a petition will mean you will be divorce.
After 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings the applicant or applicants may confirm to the court that they wish the application to continue. The court will then make a conditional divorce order.
And after 6 weeks have elapsed from the conditional order the court may make a final divorce order.
Another option to divorce is judicial separation, which is often used by someone with a religious objection to divorce. At the end of the judicial separation procedure the parties remain married, so you could not re-marry. The court can make most financial remedy orders, as on divorce.
Either or both parties to a marriage may apply to the court for a judicial separation order. An application must be accompanied by a statement by the applicant or applicants that they seek to be judicially separated. The court must then make a judicial separation order.
A further, albeit rare, possibility is for the marriage to be annulled.
A decree of nullity annuls the marriage. The effect of this depends upon whether the marriage was void, or voidable. As these are rare, specialist advice is always required.
Unlike divorce, nullity petition can be defended and so, practically speaking, the number of these cases will be extremely limited.
The procedure on nullity can be lengthy and expensive, and for this reason most people considering it decide that divorce is the simplest option.
Civil partnership dissolution, separation and nullity
If the parties are in a civil partnership rather than married they may still apply to the court for the partnership to be dissolved, for a separation order, or for the partnership to be annulled. In each case, the law and procedure is essentially similar to that for married couples.
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