5 Years Separation Divorce Rule Explained

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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.

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    How much does a divorce cost after 5 years?

    A divorce after 5 years will typically cost between £200 and £900 if you can provide the court with an address for your spouse.

    The cost of a divorce after 5 years is no different from any other divorce, however, it can become more complex, and costly when you don’t know where your ex-partner lives.

    Even under the new simplified divorce law where consent from a spouse is no longer required, an address is still required by the court.

    To put it simply, if you know where your ex-husband or wife lives you can complete a DIY divorce or an online divorce for under £200.

    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.

      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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