12th April 2017


My husband and I have separated and I want to get a divorce. We have been together for more than 20 years and we have two children who are 10 and 8 years old. He has left the family home and at the moment the children and I are staying there. He has said we need to sort the financial situation between us as well as what will happen with the children. Can all of this be sorted out in a divorce and how long will the whole process take?


The breakdown of a marriage can be stressful and it can seem like there is a lot to sort out. The issues you have mentioned can be dealt with as three separate issues.

Getting a divorce is simply the legal severing of the marriage of you and your husband. One of you can apply, known as the petitioner and the other person is the respondent. The petitioner lodges the application with the court for the divorce stating the reasons that the marriage has broken down. This should fall into one of the following categories:

(i) Adultery

(ii) Unreasonable behaviour

(iii) Separated for two years and both of you consent

(iv) Separated for five years, or

(vi) Two years desertion

Once the application has been made the respondent is given time to respond by sending their answer to the court. The court will then grant the decree nisi. Once this has been granted the minimum time to wait before applying for the decree absolute is 6 weeks and 1 day. The divorce is finalised once you receive the decree absolute.

With regards to financial issues and arrangements for the children, it may assist for you and your husband to attend mediation to see what issues can be easily dealt with. Mediation will help you both discuss the outcomes for the children and the financial issues. As Legal Aid has largely been removed for divorce matters it is important for both parties to work together for a result which you are both happy with. If an agreement can be reached at mediation, it is possible for this to be written into a consent order for the court to approve. This would make the mediation agreement legally binding in the same way it would be if a court had made the order.

If you are considering starting divorce proceedings you should seek some legal advice, especially where there is property, other financial issues and children involved. At Ben Hoare Bell we have specialist Family Solicitors who can assist with your divorce or other queries relating to finance, property or childcare. To speak to a Solicitor please phone us on 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.

Please note that this advice was correct at the time of writing. However there may have been changes in the law or procedure since that date. If you are in doubt you should obtain up to date legal advice.