FAQs about divorce answered by our family solicitors


If you and your spouse are looking to begin divorce proceedings, it is likely to be a very stressful time in your life.

And, as is the way with stressful experiences, it is important to have a grasp on what the technicalities and some of the legal definitions are, surrounding the area of UK divorces. But, of course, in the event of engaging in divorce proceedings, it is highly recommended that you hire a legal representative to help mitigate the stress.

At Andrew & Andrew, we have extensive experience dealing with divorces in the UK, and our family solicitors Portsmouth will help you at any stage of the process. We can oversee paperwork, mediation, child-related issues and, if push comes to shove, we can represent you in court.

However, before engaging in this emotive legal process, you are likely to have some standard questions. Here, our family solicitors Portsmouth aim to answer the top 5 that we receive at our firm to help you navigate the initial stages of divorce.

How does the divorce process start?

Divorce in the UK starts when the petitioner (either you or your partner) files a divorce petition with the court. The spouse who is not the petitioner receives the paperwork (filled in by our family solicitors Portsmouth) and either agrees or disagrees with it.

How long does it take on average?

If your divorce is straightforward, then the process can be as quick as 6-8 months. However, you can speed up the process if you are looking to get remarried, but this will increase your costs.

If there are negotiations needed over financial arrangements, then the process may be extended, and, of course, it can also take longer if your spouse refuses the divorce.

What qualifies as a suitable reason for divorce?

To divorce in the UK, your marriage needs to have broken down, which can legally be caused by adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years of separation with agreement or 5 years of separation without agreement.

However, laws are coming into play relating to no-fault divorces in the UK; therefore, soon a reason will not be required.

How long do I need to have been married before applying for divorce?

In the UK, you need to have been married for a total of 12 months before beginning divorce proceedings.

However, if your marriage breaks down, there is no law stating that you have to live together and so you and your spouse can separate in the meantime.

What happens if my spouse refuses to consent to the divorce?

This is more common than you may think, but it does not mean the process is over.

If your spouse refuses, based on the grounds for the divorce (e.g. you say they cheated, they say they didn’t), then you can restart the process using a different reason for the divorce if applicable.

If your spouse continues to reject the divorce, then we will begin mediation to rectify the issue, and, if necessary, we will take the divorce to court. The worst outcome from your spouse refusing divorce is that you legally separate from your partner and wait 5 years to divorce them.