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Can I get divorced in the first year of marriage?

The question to ask is when can petitions for divorce be issued? There is a bar on all divorce petitions in the first year of the marriage – to restrain divorce on impulse. But even when 1 year has passed, a divorce sometimes still cannot be issued. Why?

This is because it depends on the type of ground that is being relied on. There are only 5 grounds for divorce and the Petitioner must be able to rely on at least 1 ground on the date the Petition is signed.

If the Petitioner is to rely on the ground of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, then the Petitioner can apply for divorce 1 year and a day from the date of the marriage.

Where the Petitioner is to rely on one of the separation grounds i.e. 2 year or 5 year separation the Petitioner will have to wait 2 years if the other spouse consents to the divorce or 5 years if not. The requisite separation period must elapse before the petition is signed and issued.

Petitioners and Applicants (in the case of civil partners) use the same paperwork, whether they are petitioning for divorce or dissolution (for civil partners).

There is no equivalent bar on petitions for judicial separation or nullity, which people may submit at any time during the marriage/civil partnership.

In addition, it does not matter where in the world you were married, but you can only apply for a divorce in England and Wales if either you or your spouse meet certain residence conditions or are domiciled here.

You will need to consult a lawyer as the law in this area is very complex. An expert family lawyer can advise you on how to start your divorce in the most beneficial legal jurisdiction, you can save costs and stress and pinpoint the correct case strategy for the months ahead dependant on your individual case.

It is also worth noting that spouses can be considered separated even when they live under the same roof. If you are in any doubt, do consult a family solicitor to prevent costly problems and so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life.

If you are considering a divorce and would like an advice from our specialist family lawyers please contact us on 0330 822 3451 or request a call back online.