Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce FAQs

Am I able to get a divorce?

You can get a divorce as long as you have been married for over 12 months, the marriage is valid under UK law and you meet rules about how long you have been living in the country.

You need to be able to provide evidence to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and you are no longer able to live together.

There are five reasons that you can use to do this:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years’ separation with consent of your spouse
  • Five years’ separation

Book a free initial meeting for divorce and separation matters with an expert divorce lawyer at Pickerings.

Is it possible to separate formally rather than getting a divorce?

Yes, a separation agreement can be made. The agreement will set out what happens to all the matrimonial assets such as your home and any savings or investments and includes pension funds and life insurance policies. Your spouse would have to agree to this and there are some restrictions on what can be dealt with in a separation agreement.

Seek legal advice to see how you might be able to get a separation agreement.

What is classed as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in a divorce?

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason used for divorce. You will need to provide examples of your spouse’s behaviour to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and you are no longer able to live together. The reasons used can be domestic violence, lack of love and affection, controlling behaviour or living separate lives. Contact one of our solicitors for more information.

Does my spouse need a different solicitor or can we both use the same one?

As your solicitor, we cannot also advise your spouse as this would be a conflict of interest.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time depends on many factors including time taken for your spouse’s solicitors to respond. It can take between 6-9 months from the beginning of divorce proceedings to get a decree absolute. We can advise you at every stage of the process.

How much will a divorce cost?

Each divorce is different, some are more complex than others and so they require more time. The price depends on what stage of the divorce you are at and whether you are starting the divorce or just responding to divorce papers. Book a free initial meeting with one of our expert divorce solicitors to discuss your circumstances and get a better idea on cost.

How do I fund my divorce? Is legal aid available?

You can get funding from any existing assets or loans from the bank (may be secured against an asset in which you have interest). Litigation loans are available in certain circumstances. You might agree with your spouse to use funds in their name or to extend the mortgage on your house.

Legal Aid is no longer available unless you are in a circumstance of domestic abuse and you are financially eligible.

Can I get my spouse to fund my divorce?

This depends on the grounds for divorce. If your spouse will not agree to pay, then you can apply for a costs order and then it is up to the court to decide whether to make a costs order against your spouse.

What is a Decree Absolute?

A decree absolute marks the formal end of a marriage. If your spouse dies before getting a decree absolute and you have no financial settlement, then you will no longer be considered as a widow/widower. As a result, you could lose some benefits such as a widow’s/widower’s state pension benefits.

What if I disagree with the divorce?

Defended divorces are often rare due to significant legal costs that are incurred by doing so. It is often possible to agree through communication between the two parties and their solicitors. For advice on how you can contest a divorce contact our expert divorce solicitors Pickerings.

What if my spouse won’t acknowledge the divorce papers?

If you are applying for divorce on the grounds of adultery, unreasonable behaviour or 5 years of separation you may be able to proceed if you can prove that your spouse has received divorce papers. If your spouse is not cooperating, we can provide expert advice on how to move forward.

What if my spouse goes bankrupt during divorce proceedings?

Claims and awards remain even if one party has gone bankrupt but there can be implications for the other party. Seek legal advice as soon as possible for advice on how to continue.

Can I make a claim against my spouse’s pension?

A pension can be viewed as a marital asset. Seek advice from our Divorce team who can explain what you may or may not be able to claim from your spouse in a divorce.

How much time do I have to seek a divorce after adultery?

If you live with your spouse for 6 months or more after you found out about the adultery (or time that amounts to six months) you will be prevented from seeking a divorce on this reason.

Do I have to wait until I am divorced to make my will or can I just amend my existing will?

We would advise that you consider the content of your will as soon as possible when considering separation or divorce. Our Wills and Probate team can give expert advice on creating and amending your will.

If our property is in my partners name, do I still have a right over it when we divorce?

All the matrimonial assets are considered regardless of the name they are in. It is important to take advice. As you may need to urgently protect your interest in the property if it is not in your sole name or owned jointly with your partner.

My spouse wants me to sign a post-nuptial agreement. What does this involve and how can you help?

A post nuptial agreement sets out what happens to the assets of you and your spouse in the event of divorce. You need to enter into a post-nuptial agreement of your own free will, without pressure from your spouse. You must also have full appreciation of the implications of signing a post-nup and have full details of your spouse’s financial circumstances.


Is a solicitor required to arrange finances if we can come to an agreement between ourselves?

We would advise that you gain legal advice due to the complexity of this area of the law. We would draw up the appropriate documentation confirming the terms of agreement end ensure it is legally binding on you.