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When can you apply for a divorce?

People that contact Quickie Divorce regularly ask us if they’re in a position to file for divorce. Essentially, they want to know if they meet the requirements needed in order to file for a divorce. This is a relatively easy question to answer; in order to be eligible for a divorce you must:

  • Have been married to your spouse for at least 12 months; and
  • You and your spouse must be living separately (you can be living separately whilst sharing a home. Click on the link to find out more).

In order to truly answer this question effectively, though, it’s essential that we not only determine whether the person making this enquiry is legally able to file for a divorce, but also that that they’re prepared to do so. This is why, following us having determine that the person can file for a divorce, we ask them the following questions:

  • Have you split your assets?

Surprisingly, it is not necessary to have agreed how things like properties, savings and pensions will be divided and you can get divorced without having any kind of agreement in place. We’d strongly recommend that you not only agree such matters but that you also make them legally binding – and thus prevent future claims – by getting a clean break order (more commonly known as a consent order) too.

  • Have you agreed arrangements for your children?

Again, you don’t have to have agreed arrangements for any children you may have but we’d recommend you put them in place before starting the divorce process.

There’s no need to put a formal agreement in place, but we’ve always noticed that parents find it easier to stick to arrangements when they’ve been agreed before their divorce has been finalised.

  • Have you been living separately for at least two years?

As we’ve said previously, you can file for a divorce provided you and your spouse are living separate lives. If you haven’t been living separately for two years or more, one spouse will effectively need to accept that they were responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

Many people working within the legal world have criticised this setup and, with the government having recently announced that they intend to review this aspect of the divorce process, this may soon change. For now, though, one spouse will need to either admit to having committed adultery or having behaved unreasonably.

Whilst this will not have any negative effect on the spouse that accepts this responsibility, it’s advisable that both parties get together and agree the finer points before filing. If you don’t, the party that needs to accept blame could become difficult and potentially prevent your divorce from going through.


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