Divorce

The divorce solicitors at Richard Nelson LLP have years of experience handling divorce proceedings in a sensitive, professional manner. It is our priority to ensure that you have the legal support necessary to put this difficult time behind you.

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How our Divorce Solicitors can help

Filing for divorce is often the last step after a separating couple has considered long and hard as to whether their marriage is over. It often follows a trial period of separation or marriage counselling.

In other cases, the decision to divorce does not have to be made jointly; the step can be taken when one party decides that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

To commence divorce proceedings, you have to satisfy the following conditions:

- You must have been married for over a year;
- Your marriage must be legally recognised;
- You must meet the jurisdictional requirements to file a divorce.

Our divorce solicitors will talk you through your options if you satisfy the above criteria and want to go ahead with the divorce.

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Jurisdictional Terms for Divorce

Two legal terms are used when setting out the jurisdictional requirements for divorce:
- Domicile
- Habitually resident

Habitual residence

Habitual residence is determined by your circumstances and is directed to a person’s ‘fixed centre of interest’ rather than the length of residence. A person can only have one habitual residence at a time.

Domicile

There are three categories of domicile and a person may acquire, and lose, any of the three types:

- Domicile of Origin – Everyone acquires a domicile of origin at birth. If the parents are married then this is the father’s domicile at the time that you were born and if the parents are not married then this is the mother’s domicile at the time that you were born.
- Domicile of Choice – After the age of 16 you may acquire a domicile of choice but you must be resident in a country other than your domicile of origin and have an intention to remain there permanently.
- Domicile of Dependence – This applies to those who are under 16 years of age. Therefore, if a person is if under 16 and their parents are unmarried then, as above, it shall be the mother’s domicile and, if married, it shall be the father’s. If parents separate, a child shall acquire the domicile of the parent with whom they live.

Jurisdictional requirements

Given the above, the following jurisdictional requirements must be met to file for a divorce in England and Wales:
- Both parties to the divorce are habitually resident here
- Both parties to the divorce were last habitually resident here and one of them still resides here, or
- The respondent is habitually resident here; or
- The applicant is habitually resident if he or she resided here for at least a year immediately before the application was made, or
- The applicant is domiciled if he or she resided here for at least 6 months immediately before the application was made; or
- Both parties are both domiciled here.
If none of the above apply and no court of another EU state has jurisdiction, either of the parties must be domiciled in England and Wales on the date when the proceedings are begun.

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Grounds for divorce

The law on the grounds for divorce changed on 6th April 2022.

Divorces commenced prior to 6th April 2022

There was only one ground on which a petition for divorce was presented to the court, which was that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, which could be proven by one of the following grounds:

1. Adultery – That the Respondent had committed adultery and the Petitioner found it intolerable to live with the Respondent.
2. Unreasonable behaviour – That the Respondent had behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent.
3. Desertion – That the Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least 2 years.
4. 2 years’ separation & consent – That the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years and the Respondent consents to the divorce.
5. 5 years’ separation – The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 5 years.

Divorces commenced after 6th April 2022

The ground for petitioning for divorce remains that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, but there is no longer a need to assert the traditional grounds. The new divorce law has been termed ‘no fault divorce’.

Our divorce lawyers will be able to advise you on the appropriate manner to petition for a divorce.

More information on divorce law

Richard Nelson LLP’s divorce solicitors have extensive knowledge across all areas of divorce law. They have written several articles on specific topics to provide information that we hope you will find helpful during this period.

– What am I entitled to in a divorce settlement?
– How to protect your pension in a divorce
– Family court definitions
– Lottery winnings & divorce
– Paternity & Declaration of Parentage in family law

What we do

– Advice on the divorce process and the petition for divorce
– Compassionate but robust assistance throughout your divorce proceedings
– Advice and assistance when attempting to obtain a financial order
– Advice and assistance regarding Child Arrangements

Specialist solicitors

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in a wide range of services, which means you'll always be represented by an expert in your area.

No-strings initial call

Get in touch to arrange a no-obligation, fully confidential call to discuss your case and work out if you want to continue.

Nationwide support

Speak to solicitors in one of our offices throughout England and Wales, or arrange calls and remote meetings.

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