Can I get a divorce in the first year of marriage?

Unfortunately, no.

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Can I get a divorce in the first year of marriage?

If you find you unfortunately want to separate during your first year of marriage you might be upset to find out that you can’t actually start divorce proceedings. This is because the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 section 3(1) states:

“No petition for divorce shall be presented to the court before the expiration of the period of one year from the date of the marriage.” 

However, you can start preparing proceedings whilst you wait for the end of your first year of marriage.

It is possible to start considering the grounds you are going to use to petition for a divorce and who is going to be the petitioner and respondent. Unfortunately, under our current legislation a couple can’t divorce without a ‘fault-based ground’ which has to either be adultery or unreasonable behaviour, (unless you are willing to wait after 2 years or 5 years of separation).

Whilst this can cause tension between the parties, it is helpful to try and remember that the grounds stated in the petition are purely to provide a means to an end; when it comes to settling your finances who is the petitioner and who is the respondent usually has no relevance.

Another task you can undertake during the first year of marriage is to start collating all of your financial information.

Dealing with the finances is often the most time consuming and costly part of a divorce.  If you can pull together all of your mortgage statements, bank account statements, debts, payslips, business accounts and request the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) for any pensions you have, (these can often take weeks if not months to obtain) you can speed up the process when you reach the point you can start divorce proceedings.

Hopefully these suggestions will pave the way to a quicker and easier settlement once the first year of marriage is up.

If you would like any advice on your marriage or relationship or have any other questions relating to divorce or separation, please email shelley.harper@keebles.com or call Shelley on 0113 399 3410.

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