We deal with just divorce but most clients will also need some help with money, property and arrangements for children.

We can advise on all of these in your free initial meeting with one of our solicitors Helen Jackson or Nigel Rostance.

There is only one ground for divorce which is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. To prove that it has irretrievably broken down you will need to demonstrate 1 of 5 facts. These are often referred to as the grounds for divorce but they don’t have to be the reason.

The five facts are:

  • Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with him/her. (note that adultery does not apply in the case of same sex marriage)
  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
  • Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of 2 years or more.
  • You have lived separately for 2 years and your spouse agrees to the divorce.
  • You have lived separately for 5 years or more.

Divorce proceedings can usually be completed within 5 or 6 months but you may be advised to delay the final part of the divorce until financial issues have been resolved.

Separation and Divorce FAQs:

1. How do I prove adultery?

In most cases you won’t need to. Adultery does mean full sexual intercourse. As you can imagine, this is difficult to prove if it isn’t admitted. In most cases it will be admitted, partly because in most cases the other party will want a divorce too.

There is no advantage to divorcing your spouse for adultery rather than another fact. If your spouse won’t admit it, you may decide to rely on his/her behaviour instead which will not have to be proven.

2. What if my husband/wife defends the divorce?

Defended divorce proceedings are very rare. They are extremely expensive and it is almost always futile to defend proceedings. Most will agree not to do so once they have the benefit of legal advice. Occasionally, if one or both parties have particularly strong feelings on who divorces who, you may divorce each other by way of cross petitions. We can advise on all divorce proceedings, including contested proceedings.

What if I don’t believe in divorce?

There are other ways of recognising that your marriage has failed which are not divorce. A Decree of Judicial Separation is very similar to divorce but does not legally end the marriage. This may be of interest to older couples where divorce may have unwanted financial implications or for parties who have a strong moral or religious objection to divorce. Unfortunately, if your spouse wants a divorce and you don’t, in most cases you will be unable to prevent it.

4. Who pays for the divorce?

In the first place you will each be responsible for your own solicitor’s costs. The Petitioner bears the greater costs for the divorce because they have to pay the Court fee, currently £550.00 and they will be responsible for the preparation of most of the documents.

We can advise on whether it would be appropriate to apply for an Order for costs against the respondent and in accordance with the Family Law Protocol, in most cases we will try to agree costs with your spouse at the outset.


The answers to these facts are intended to provide general information. There may be exceptions and this information is not a substitute for legal advice on your specific case.

Our Divorce services are available in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and Newcastle under Lyme.

Please contact us to arrange a free initial advice appointment.

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14 Park Street
ST17 4AL

Tel: 01785 213234
Email: enquiry@1st-solicitors.co.uk

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