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Home Grounds For Divorce 5 Years Separation Rule Grounds For Divorce

5 Years Separation Rule Grounds For Divorce

Getting a divorce after 5 years of separation can be a simple and straightforward procedure, however, it can pose more problems than other grounds for divorce such as 2 years of separation with the agreement of both parties or unreasonable behaviour.

In this article, we will break down what you need to know about the rules when getting divorced after a period of 5 years.

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    What was the 5 years separation divorce rule?

    5 years separation was one of five available grounds for divorce that you could use to show why your marriage has irretrievably broken down in England or Wales.

    If there was an agreement to the divorce and parties were in contact, it was a quick and easy way to end your marriage with no hostility or blaming one another.

    It gave couples an opportunity to obtain a quick divorce without needing to attend court or instruct expensive solicitors.

    It is no longer possible to submit a divorce application on the grounds of 5 years separation. There is now only one grounds for divorce, which is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

    megaphoneNo-Fault Divorce Law – The divorce law in England and Wales has changed to give way for a no fault divorce. This means, from 6 April 2022, you no longer need to wait for a period of 5 years of separation to end your marriage. It is not possible for the other party to contest the divorce, allowing the divorce to proceed without friction or additional costs.

    Speak to our friendly team on Live Chat for quick and reliable answers to your questions or call us on 01793 384 029 for no obligation information and advice on how no-fault divorce works.

    It’s fairly common for couples that don’t have children together to lose contact, especially after 5 or 10 years of separation.

    It’s important to stress that even without the consent or agreement from your spouse, the divorce can be granted when based on 5 years separation, you may just be required to jump through another procedural hoop.

    It is a myth that you can just get an automatic divorce after five years of separation without your spouse being involved.

    If you can’t locate your ex-partner then you must show the court that you have done your utmost to find them.

    This does mean that unfortunately, there is no such thing as an automatic divorce, even if you have been separated 15+ years.

    You cannot simply divorce without the other party, despite what you may think or have been told.

    The quickest and easiest way to obtain a divorce after 5 years of separation is to use our Managed Divorce Service for £199, which is for couples that know where their ex-partner lives and are likely to cooperate.

    1) If your ex-partner won’t cooperate

    If your ex-partner decides not to cooperate then you’ll need to prove to the court that they have been served with the divorce petition.

    You will need to ask the court to serve them personally or hire a private process server to serve the papers to your spouse. This sounds complicated to most people, but it’s a very straightforward step.

    The court service is £100+ and most private process servers charge £100-£150. Both services will enable you to move forward with your divorce, however, the process service option is usually quicker.

    Once your ex-partner has been served by either of these services, you can then submit a statement of service and your decree nisi application.

    This will prove to the court that your spouse has personally been served the divorce petition, which means that you can continue with your divorce proceedings.

    In some cases, using unreasonable behaviour as the grounds for divorce may be a simpler option than a separation ground. Call us on 01793 384 029 and discuss your situation for free.

    2) If you don’t have an address for your spouse

    Your ex-partner must be given the opportunity to respond to the divorce petition, regardless if you have been separated for 10+ years.

    Therefore, for this to happen you must prove to the court that you have tried locating your spouse through a range of different means, e.g. social media, family, friends and sometimes even national records.

    This is where getting a divorce based on 5 years separation becomes more stressful and costly.

    There are 3 valid options available for you to follow if you don’t have an address for your husband or wife;

    1. Apply for a court order against a government department to give up the address of your spouse if they are believed to be in the UK.
    2. Apply to dispense with service if your spouse lives abroad. You still must show that you’ve tried to locate your spouse in this situation.
    3. If you know the address of a close relative or work colleague, you can ask the court for the divorce papers to be served via someone else.

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      3) If your spouse will agree to the divorce

      If you have an address for your spouse and they are likely to respond to the divorce petition things become much quicker and easier and therefore, cheaper.

      The divorce procedure will be the exact same as all other grounds when there is cooperation and in most cases, you can obtain a divorce in 5-6 months.

      If you are on low income or benefits you may be exempt from paying the court fees which are set by the government and currently stand at £593.

      There are, of course, faster and slower ways to obtain a divorce. Fast being our Managed Divorce Service for £199; This typically completes within 24 weeks and involves our team dealing with the courts and judge on your behalf.

      You will not need to attend a court hearing at any point or take any time off work to visit our offices.

      Everything is dealt with for you right from the start, up until you receive your decree absolute through the post.

      Commonly Asked Questions…

      How long do you have to be separated to be automatically divorced?

      In the UK, there is, unfortunately, no such thing as an automatic divorce and regardless of the grounds for divorce, a divorce must be processed through the court and granted by a judge.

      The respondent needs to also be given the opportunity to see the divorce petition.

      Can I divorce my husband or wife without their consent?

      Yes, you can divorce your husband or wife in England or Wales without their consent, but only once you’ve been separated for a period of 5 years.

      It is not possible to divorce your spouse without their consent, prior to this period of separation.

      What happens if I don’t have my husband’s address?

      To file for divorce using 5 years separation you must have an address for your spouse, as even though you’ve been separated for over 5 years, your ex-partner still must have an opportunity to see the divorce petition.

      If you don’t have an address for your ex-partner, you can ask the court to help you find one.

      Does being separated longer make divorce quicker?

      It doesn’t is the quick answer. Typically the quickest divorce cases are based on 2 years separation with consent.

      Sometimes the longer you have been separated can make the divorce process slower as there are more complications with finding your ex-partner and then making additional applications to the court before they can grant your divorce.

      4) Sorting out finances with a divorce based on separation length

      Finances are often a sticking point in divorce as couples have disputes over property, money, pensions and other assets.

      If you are still in contact with your spouse and have agreed on a financial settlement then you can apply to the court to make it legally binding through what is known as a financial consent order.

      If you have any questions about dealing with your finances when going through a divorce, then please call us for free on 01793 384 029.

      It is common for parties to lose communication after separating, especially when there are no children or assets such as properties within the marriage.

      It’s advisable to deal with your finances at the same time as your divorce as obtaining a decree absolute does not sever your financial relationship as husband or wife.

      You can apply to the court to make a financial order if you don’t have an address for your ex-partner or if there is no agreement.

      The application fee is £255 and you may be asked to attend court hearings to discuss your finances, however, it is the only way to legally divide your assets and money.

      Obtaining a financial order will prevent all future and further claims and gives both parties peace of mind over their finances following a divorce.

      How can Divorce-Online help you today?

      1) The UK’s most affordable and straightforward online divorce service

      There isn’t a simpler or more cost-effective way to end your marriage than by using our online divorce services.

      2) Free advice for people considering a divorce after 5+ years of separation.

      You may be confused about divorce and how it works when you’ve been separated for over 5 years. This is normal, so why not, chat to us on live chat and get the answers you need?

      We provide free advice to over 1,000 people every month. We can help you too, simply call us on 01793 384029 for free information on your circumstances.

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        This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.