Grounds for divorce – why they are important, but don’t really matter – Part III

Having covered adultery and unreasonable behavior in my last two blogs, we now come on to the rather simpler ground of two year’s separation with consent.

Known as the no blame, no fault or amicable divorce, it allows the couple to get a divorce without having to explain any other details, other than they have lived apart for a period of two years and they both consent to the divorce.

The court will even allow you both a period of living back together during the two years if you gave the relationship another go or had no choice but to return to the marital home. However, it is best to take advice on this, as the court may decide not to take this period into account on the two years.

When we started processing divorces over 6 years ago, many couples would say they were separated within the same house. We had to write statements to show they lived separate lives, stayed in separate rooms, paid bills separately and were in effect living as a house share. However, the courts are clamping down on this and we do not advise to use the two year’s separation with consent if you still remain living in the same property, albeit staying in separate rooms.

All you will need to show the court is the dates and addresses of the properties you have stayed at since you separated. As long as the time period is two years or more, the court will accept your petition.

There is no legal definition of separating in such matters. You do not have to have signed a deed of separation, have gone to a solicitor, or show council tax bills for different addresses. The date you separated is simply the date you agree that you started to live at two separate addresses.

For those wanting to wait two years for a no fault divorce, you can have your financial and parenting arrangements documented in a deed of separation. Drafted by a solicitor, this lays out the agreements you have reached and invites the court to accept the same, when you later get divorced.

The disadvantage with this is that the court will need an up to date disclosure when you get divorce – they look at your current finances at the time of divorce, not as they were at the time of separation and the deed of separation is not legally binding and irrevocable as a consent order is with a divorce. Pension funds can only be shared on a divorce and the bottom line is, you are still legally married, so you cannot achieve a clean break. Even having a new partner during the separation is counted as adultery in legal terms.

If you are coming towards the end of the two years, you can start the process with us and we can sort everything out, compile all the paperwork and ensure the petition is submitted within a few days of the two-year anniversary.

Divorce Friend will be able to advise you and help you agree the best ground for your divorce. All our divorce packages include a solicitor for the respondent and the petitioner.

You can call us on 0330 999 0313 for a friendly chat about your circumstances.

Ready for the next step?