Thanks to a new Ministry of Justice initiative, people across England and Wales will now be able to apply for a divorce online. The intention is to speed up the divorce process and reduce the number of applications being returned due to mistakes.
While this does have the potential to make applying for a divorce faster and more convenient, it is still essential to have expert legal advice and support when filling out a divorce application and throughout the entire divorce process.
Avoiding mistakes on your divorce application
There a number of mistakes people commonly make when filling out their divorce application. These can render the application invalid, meaning it will be returned and you will have to correct the mistakes. While the online system can help catch some mistakes, for example if you fail to fill in key details, it will not help you if you simple put in incorrect information, such as getting the date of your marriage incorrect.
A solicitor can check your application for you, ensuring all of the relevant information is included and correct. This applies equally whether applying for a divorce online or on paper and can end up saving you a significant amount of time and effort in the long run.
Choosing the right grounds for divorce
When applying for a divorce, choosing the right grounds is essential to make sure your divorce goes through as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “no fault” divorce in the UK. This means that even if you and your spouse both agree to the divorce, you still need to give a reason (or reasons) why you marriage has broken down that will be accepted by a judge.
The acceptable grounds for divorce in England and Wales are:
- Adultery (where your spouse has had sex outside of your marriage with someone of the opposite sex)
- Unreasonable behaviour (where your spouse has behaved in a way that means you can no longer reasonably be expected to live with them e.g. working or going out with friends all the time, refusing to be physically intimate with you, refusing to contribute financially, or being verbally or physically abusive)
- Desertion (where your spouse has left you from at least 2 years out of the last 2.5 years without your agreement, without good reason and with the intention to end your relationship)
- Living apart for at least 2 years (if your spouse agrees to the divorce)
- Living apart for at least 5 years (whether your spouse agrees to the divorce or not)
Unreasonable behaviour is the mostly commonly cited grounds for divorce as it can allow your divorce to move ahead straightaway. However, what grounds you use have to be carefully chosen.
Ideally, the grounds must be sufficient for a judge to agree that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, without being so detrimental to your spouse that they are likely to challenge the divorce. If your spouse does challenge the divorce, this will slow down the process and mean you are likely to have to appear in court.
An experience divorce lawyer will be able to advise you on which grounds are best to use in your circumstances and, where appropriate, liaise with your ex-partner and their solicitors to ensure the application is likely to go through without challenge.
Crisp & Co’s divorce solicitors in London and the South East are highly experienced in all types of divorce, with a particular focus on non-confrontational divorce. This means that whether you apply online or via a paper application, we can provide the expert guidance you need to help your divorce go as smoothly and quickly as possible.
To find out more, speak to one of our expert divorce lawyers now by calling 020 3797 4952 or use the enquiry form below to request a call back.