Over the years and in my capacity as a Solicitor specialising in Family law I have been asked many questions, however, some questions appear to be more prevalent than others. In this article, I have attempted to put together the most common asked questions in a bid to put right the common misconception surrounding divorce law and procedure; to that end I start by asking this question:

Is it possible to get a ‘quickie divorce’ and if so how quick is a ‘quickie divorce’?

There is no such thing as a ‘Quickie Divorce’. The main ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which must then be supported by one of five supporting facts namely;

  • The respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
  • The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
  • Desertion by the respondent for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition;
  • The party’s have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition with the respondent’s consent;
  • The parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of 5 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition which does not require the respondent’s consent.

The divorce procedure is exactly the same whether the divorce petition is based upon Adultery or two years separation with consent. It is not therefore the case that the procedure for divorce is determined by the supporting fact being relied upon.

Can I issue Divorce Proceedings based upon ‘Irreconcilable Differences’?

Irreconcilable differences cannot be used as a reason for divorce. As stated previously the main ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which must then be supported by one of the five facts detailed above.

Can I petition for divorce based upon my own Adultery or Unreasonable Behaviour?

It is not possible to petition for divorce based upon either your own adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

The essence of an adulterous relationship is that the Respondent to the divorce petition (namely the person who is to be on the receiving end of the divorce petition)   has had a sexual relationship with another person other than their spouse.

Equally, the essence of a divorce petition based upon unreasonable behaviour is that the Respondent to the petition has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent.

Is there such a thing as a Common Law Husband and Wife

Contrary to what many people believe there is no such thing as a Common Law Husband and Wife and as such cohabiting couples do not attract the same rights as married couples on separation. In fact the legislation used to determine the division of assets for cohabiting couples is entirely different to the legislation used to determine the division of the assets for divorcing couples.

Will the Petitioner get a larger proportion of the assets when compared to the Respondent?

Generally speaking, your position within the divorce process, namely whether you are the petitioner or the respondent will not have any bearing on how the disputed assets will be distributed between the parties.

There are occasions when one party’s conduct is so sever that the it will be taken into consideration as part of the Financial order proceedings, however, these cases are exceptional in nature.

Kelly Pougher, Associate Solicitor is an Expert in Family Law and is able to offer expert advice on Divorce and related Financial matters. Kelly is located at our Solihull Office and can be contacted on (0121) 624 4000 or kpougher@thursfields.co.uk.

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