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How do I go about getting a divorce?

To get a divorce, you need to have been married for at least one year and your marriage must be recognised as valid by United Kingdom law. You or your partner must be living in England or Wales when you apply for the divorce or one of you must have been living in England or Wales during the year before the application is made.

If your partner does not object to the divorce you can apply for an undefended divorce. If there are no children and no complicated property matters then you may be able to complete the divorce procedure without the help of a solicitor.

If your partner does not agree to the divorce, it is called a defended divorce and you will need the help of a solicitor.

A divorce will be granted by the county court if you can show the marriage no longer exists. Legally, this is known as the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The court will look at the evidence to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. The court will accept any of the following as proof: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation with consent or five years separation.

You can only get legal aid for divorce proceedings if you're a victim of domestic violence or abuse.

For more information on help with legal costs, see Help with legal costs.

For more information on divorce, see Ending a marriage.

Other Frequently asked questions about family matters: