Thinking about getting a divorce?

Thinking about getting a divorce?

Have you considered? 

  1. Where the children will live?
  1. When and how you will ensure the children have plenty of contact time with both parents?
  1. How you will continue to pay for the children and if any child maintenance payments should be made.
  1. Where you will each live. Will one of you stay in the property or will the matrimonial home need to be sold?
  1. How you will divide your money and other property. You will need to make a full list of all assets (savings, pensions, investments, property, car etc) you own jointly and individually, what you each earn, and a list of any debts.
  1. How you will you divide the contents of the family home.
  1. What you will do about other assets, such as the car.
  1. How will you deal with family debts?
  1. If one of you will pay maintenance to the other. Wikivorce has produced an online calculator that estimates what a fair financial settlement. This may prove as a good starting point for negotiations, but it is not the same as getting advice from a solicitor.
  1. How you will ask for a divorce, who will ask for the divorce?

In England and Wales, you can’t get divorced just because your marriage or civil partnership is no longer a happy one. There is only one ground for divorce and this is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the five reasons.

Similarly, one party must petition for divorce. You can not ask for a divorce together.  This can may prove difficult as often the one party feels like the other is being ‘blamed’ for the end of the relationship, and of course these things are rarely one person’s fault (indeed, it’s often not really anybody’s fault).

The law refers to the person who asks for the divorce as ’the petitioner’ and the other person as ‘the respondent’.


This means that your husband or wife has had full sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. If you go on living together for more than six months after you have found out about it you may not be able to use this reason, you must show the court that you find it ‘intolerable’ to go on living together.  

Unreasonable behaviour

This can cover all sorts of behaviour, provided the person asking for the divorce finds it unreasonable. Half of all divorce petitions use this reason.


This means that your ex-partner has left you against your will, and you have been living apart for at least two years.

Two years separation, with consent

This means you have been living apart for two years and both agree to the divorce. During the period of separation, you can have had up to six months trying to live together again but it doesn’t count towards the two years. Even though you both agree to divorce, one person still has to divorce the other; you can’t ask the court for a divorce together.

Five years separation

If you can’t get your ex-partner to agree to a divorce and your situation doesn’t fit into the other reasons you may have to wait until you have been apart for five years and then use this reason.


Another option is to make a separation agreement now and divorce on the grounds of two years’ separation with consent once you have lived apart for long enough. This avoids the need to cite adultery or details one person’s unreasonable behaviour so can help keep things more amicable.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce and need expert legal advice call us on 020 8318 4345. Alternatively email us at

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