When There’s no Going Back: the First Steps to Take when Divorcing

Peter Jones
Founder of
Jones Myers
Family Solicitors

The realisation that divorce is inevitable can result in wide-ranging emotions spanning despair, frustration – and fear of starting all over again.

It is very rare that the person instigating the break up, or the partner who is being left, are prepared for the collapse of the marriage.

Embarking on a life-changing path can seem a daunting and difficult journey. The steps below will help you to start and manage the divorce process:

Check you can apply for a divorce

You must be married for over a year before starting divorce proceedings. Your marriage must be recognised by UK law and in most instances you or your partner will be living in England or Wales when making an application. You will also need to produce your marriage certificate.

Establish your grounds for divorce

In England and Wales there is only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. You must show one of these five facts exist for divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour – a common ground for a speedy divorce which can be based on mild allegations such as one party being a workaholic
  • Desertion
  • Two years’ separation – if both parties agree to the divorce, this is the easiest way to divorce
  • Five year’s separation – applicable even if your ex doesn’t agree to the divorce

Seek early professional advice

Enlist professional support, sound advice and practical help from family law experts who can help you with all aspects of divorce and separation including finances and children. Having the correct information early on can help you make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes later. Knowing what to expect will also settle many preconceived anxieties.

Avoid inflaming the situation

Don’t be tempted to start moving money out of a bank account or change locks on your family home. It may be the main asset and central to any financial settlement. If possible, it is better if one of you can move out to help avoid confrontation and stress. This move does not mean that your or your ex will lose your share in the home.

Telling your children

Parents often find this to be the hardest aspect of splitting up. Don’t leave it too late and, if possible, break the news together after planning your approach and what you will say. Don’t blame each other – aim to be consistent in what you say and reassure them that they are loved.

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 About Peter Jones 

Peter Jones is one of the country’s leading divorce and family lawyers. A qualified arbitrator and mediator, Peter set up Jones Myers as the first niche family law firm in the north of England in 1992 and has acted for a string of high-profile clients.

Renowned for his sympathetic approach, he is a former national chairman of Resolution, a former Deputy District Judge – and instigated the D5 Group of law firms that promotes excellence in family law. www.jonesmyers.co.uk


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