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Automatic Divorce After 7 Years of Separation – Fact or Fiction?

We often receive enquiries from people asking whether they can get an automatic divorce because they have been separated for over 7 years, but is this fact or fiction? Read more to find out the legal answer.

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    Is an Automatic Divorce After 7 Years a Myth or Reality?

    There’s a common misconception that after a certain period of separation, divorce in the UK becomes automatic.

    The question we’re often asked is “How long do you have to be separated before divorce is automatic?”.

    The answer to that question is, that no matter how long a couple has lived apart, they must actively start divorce proceedings for the separation to legally end in divorce. There is no such thing as an automatic divorce after a long separation.

    Contrary to popular belief, the UK legal system does not recognise ‘automatic divorce’, after 7 years, or indeed any period of separation.

    Couples looking to divorce must follow the appropriate legal process, which involves submitting a divorce application to the court, regardless of the duration of their separation. We can help you submit a divorce application and end your marriage for as little as £249.

    The introduction of new divorce legislation in April 2022 (no fault divorce law) has streamlined the divorce process, especially for longer separations.

    Yet, it remains clear that parties still need to undertake formal proceedings to dissolve their marriage, even after long periods of living separately, such as 5+ years of separation.

    What Does The Divorce Laws Say About Automatic Divorce?

    Divorce in England and Wales falls under the jurisdiction of family law. As of 6 April 2022, new divorce laws came into effect, introducing significant changes to the existing system.

    The key feature of these reforms is the allowance for a ‘no-fault divorce’, which means that neither party needs to establish blame to start proceedings.

    Partners can apply jointly, and there is a mandatory minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to confirm the intention to divorce, ensuring reflective consideration.

    Contrary to some misconceptions, there is no such thing as an ‘automatic divorce’ after being separated for 7 years or any other specified time. No period of separation can automatically dissolve a marriage.

    Parties wishing to obtain a divorce must actively initiate proceedings, irrespective of the duration of their separation.

    Couples are often surprised to learn what the cost of divorce after 10 years of separation is. They assume it’s going to be quick and simple due to the long separation period, but in reality, it can work in the reverse.

    What About Marital Property and Financial Settlement?

    If an automatic divorce after seven years was permitted, significant implications would arise regarding the division of marital property and financial settlement.

    Currently, the couple must negotiate or, if necessary, litigate the division of assets by applying to the court for a financial order.

    This process often involves scrutinising contributions to the marriage (homemaker vs breadwinner), assessing future needs, and various other factors before reaching a financial settlement.

    It is crucial to understand that proceedings need to be commenced to resolve any financial claims, and there is no expiry date for such claims post-separation.

    In simple terms, this means that if you don’t deal with your finances when you get divorced and obtain a clean break, you remain financially tied to your ex-husband or wife.

    Child Custody and Parental Responsibilities

    When it comes to child custody and parental responsibilities, an automatic divorce could complicate matters.

    UK law currently ensures that the children’s best interests are paramount during any divorce proceedings.

    The court thoroughly examines each parent’s relationship with the children and their ability to provide care before deciding on custody and visitation rights.

    A seven-year rule could not adequately replace the need for such careful and individual consideration.

    What Is The Procedure for Filing for Divorce?

    In England and Wales, individuals who wish to end their marriage must follow a set procedure to obtain a divorce. The necessary steps include:

    1. Submit a divorce application
    2. 20-week reflection period
    3. Apply for a Conditional Order
    4. Apply for a financial order
    5. Apply for a Final order

    This is a very brief overview of the divorce process. For more details on how the procedure works and how you can finalise it quickly, read more about how to get a quick divorce online.

    There are essentially three options when it comes to getting divorced.

    You can do it yourself (DIY) without legal representation, which isn’t recommended for most couples. Or, you can use an online divorce service or instruct divorce solicitors to help you.

    Get An Online Divorce Today For Under £250

    This service is ideal for couples that want to obtain a divorce without any hassle and spending thousands of pounds on lawyers’ fees. Our service is the simplest solution to getting divorced.

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