Legal Issues

Our Guide To: Divorce

Deciding that your marriage has ended can be very difficult. This legal guide is designed to give information about the law and procedure on divorce. When marriages break down there are often other issues that need to be resolved, such as child arrangements or financial matters.

In this guide, spouse means your husband or wife.

Who can get divorced?

If you have been legally married for at least one year, either you or your spouse can apply for a divorce. Some foreign or religious marriage ceremonies are not recognised by the law of England and Wales. If you are unsure whether or not you are legally married please consult a legal advice line.

Jurisdiction

The English courts can dissolve foreign marriages so long as there is an appropriate connection, for example if one or both of you live in England or Wales or you are both from England or Wales. It may be that you and your spouse have connections with more than one country and that you have the option to get divorced here or abroad. Choosing the right country to get divorced in is important as it can have a big impact on how marital finances are shared. If you think your spouse intends to start divorce proceedings in another country, you should seek family law advice urgently as you may wish to start divorce proceedings in England or Wales before they do. This is known as a petition race.