What Evidence do I Need to Begin Divorce Proceedings?
The breakdown of a marriage is never an easy time and making the decision to begin divorce proceedings is one that should never be taken lightly. As matrimonial solicitors, we know there are many questions that you’ll no doubt need answering at this stage. One of the most common queries people have is understanding what evidence they need to start the divorce process. So, here’s an explanation.
Establishing Grounds for Divorce
To establish whether you can begin divorce proceedings, grounds for divorce must be met. The only ground for divorce that needs to be established is that the marriage has broken down and cannot be saved. You’ll need to establish one of 5 facts to prove this: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years of separation with the consent of both partners, separation of five years even if one partner does not agree or has refused to cooperate, or desertion.
If one of these grounds can be met, you can then file for divorce. The first requirement is that you have to have been married for at least one year, and secondly, your marriage must be recognised as valid in the UK. Your solicitor will then be able to go ahead and complete the divorce petition form which can then be filed with the court. Following this, the other party will receive the completed petition as well as the notice of proceedings form (which will contain your case number and details of what to do next), along with the acknowledgement of service form.
Can Divorce be Immediate?
The way the law stands at the moment means that beginning divorce proceedings in some cases will include an element of blame. Adultery and unreasonable behaviour have to be established if the couple require an immediate start to the divorce process, which both rely on blame-based facts to prove that the marriage has broken down and is beyond repair. The other options include much longer timeframes, including waiting for at least two years (if both parties agree to the divorce) or five years (if one party does not agree to the divorce) before being able to start the process.
The Future of Divorce Proceedings
However, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which passed into law on 25 June 2020, has introduced what is referred to as a "No Fault" divorce in England and Wales. Although this new statutory framework has been approved, there are still a vast number of notes, procedures, and forms that will need to be implemented to ensure the changes run smoothly, as well as substantial changes to the IT system of the courts.
Unfortunately, there has been no formal announcement of a date by which the new law will come into force. It was originally thought that the new legislation would apply from Autumn 2021, but further delays now mean that it may not come into effect in England and Wales until April 2022.
Here at Vines Legal, we are experts in matrimonial and family law and can assist you at every stage to help guide you through what can be a confusing and distressing time. For a free initial, no obligation consultation, please call us on 01246 555610 for immediate, friendly and professional advice.
By Vines Legal on 17 Dec 2021, 12:28 PM