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Should I get consent before filing for divorce?

When both parties consent to a divorce, the process is much easier. Whilst there are instances where consent is vital, and it is therefore strongly recommend that it is sought before filing, there are also those where obtaining consent before starting the divorce process is, whilst still advisable, far from absolutely necessary.

When consent is essential

If the reason for the divorce being sought is two-year separation, then the divorce will not be granted without both parties’ consent. The spouse that files for the divorce (the Petitioner) confirms that they want a divorce by sending a completed Divorce Petition to their nearest divorce centre. The party that receives the application (the Respondent) will need to confirm that they, too, want their marriage to end by then completing and returning a D10 form (which they will be sent along with a copy of the Divorce Petition their spouse filed) to said divorce centre.

If the Respondent refuses to do this, the divorce will not be able to proceed – hence why it is so important that anyone that intends to file on this ground ensures that their spouse also wants a divorce before starting the process.

Why consent is needed in an adultery-based divorce

Whilst it is technically possible for a divorce to be granted without consent when adultery has been cited as the relevant ground, the Petitioner will need to prove that the adultery took place. As this is a highly problematic task, it’s nigh on essential that the Respondent’s consent is sought before a divorce is sought on this ground.

When consent isn’t essential

Divorces that rely on the fact that the parties have been living separately for at least five years or the Respondent having behaved unreasonably can proceed without both parties’ consent.

Under such circumstances, the Petitioner can use a process server to deliver the documents to the Respondent by hand. Once this has been done, the divorce can proceed without the Respondent’s consent.

Alternatively, if the Petitioner does not know the Respondent’s address then, provided they have tried to locate them, they can actually get a divorce without their spouse being informed. You can find out more about this here.

Why it’s always advisable that consent is sought

If someone doesn’t know where their spouse is, they clearly cannot enquire as to whether they would consent to a divorce. In all other circumstances, however, it is advisable that consent be obtained before filing for divorce if possible.

The divorce process can be extremely stressful when there is any uncertainty surrounding the process. By ensuring that consent has been obtained beforehand, people can save themselves from significant worry and anxiety.


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