CALL US NOW ON 0121 356 4556
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Facebook

J.M. Wilson Solicitors has excelled in providing expert legal assistance since 1991. Highly professional staff are friendly and offering expertise in:
• Property  • Immigration, Asylum & Human Rights  • Criminal & Civil Litigation  • Wills and Probate  • Public Law  • Family Law
Buying & Selling Property
Immigration & Asylum
  • Human Rights
  • Criminal & Civil Litigation
  • Wills and Probate
  • Public Law
  • Specialist Family Law
    2 Easy Steps To Find
    The Right Solictor
    • Call 0121 356 4556 or fill in the form
    • Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
    Quick Enquiry Form
    Captcha plugin for Joomla from Outsource Online

    No such thing as Automatic Divorce for separation cases

    Many clients assume if they have remained separated from their spouse for 5 years or more than they are entitled to an ‘automatic’ divorce. By this I mean they assume there is no need to file a petition with the Court or indeed for their spouse to even know about the petition for divorce.

    Quite why clients assume this, is somewhat of a mystery. I commonly come across this misconception in particular amongst the Asian communities that I serve. When I ask them where they get this information from, they assure me it something most people in their communities believe.

    To clarify, there is no such thing as an automatic divorce. There is just one ground for divorce, which is the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To use this ground, one of five facts must be chosen and then cited within the divorce petition. Those five facts being:-

    1. Adultery
    2. Unreasonable behaviour
    3. Two years separation and consent
    4. Five years separation
    5. Desertion


    Regardless of which fact is used, there will still have to be a petition filed with the Court. In addition, the other party will have to be identified and he/she will be required to acknowledge receipt of the petition. The same process is followed for all petitions regardless of which fact is used, with the process taking from start to finish around 5 months, this is provided both parties agree to the divorce and file their respective documents promptly when required to do so.

    It is therefore not correct to say a 10 year separation case will be any faster than a case whereby unreasonable behaviour or adultery is cited.   If anything the situation becomes trickier when the parties have separated for say 10 years and have gone about their lives without knowing where the other is.

    When the time comes for divorce the Court requires proof the other party knows about the petition for divorce. If the whereabouts of the other party is unknown then this creates complications for the spouse wanting to divorce. A Judge may not be willing to allow the divorce to finalise unless satisfied the other party knows of the divorce.

    Other complications involve a spouse that has returned to their native country abroad, having entered the UK to marry a British citizen, only for the marriage to fail a short while later. Locating and serving the divorce petition upon a spouse abroad can be complicated and costly for the spouse seeking to divorce.

    The lesson here is that whilst keeping things amicable by divorcing on the basis of ‘no blame’ 2 or 5 year separation, it is wise to always know the whereabouts of the estranged spouse for when the time comes to finalise the split with a divorce.


    If you have any questions about getting divorced please get in touch with us. Your first meeting is free. There is more information about how we work and a recent testimonial on the Family Law page of our website.