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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7609
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Are there any circumstances in which the five-year rule for

Resolved Question:

Are there any circumstances in which the five-year rule for divorces in situations where the parties do not agree can be breached?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.



Are you asking if there are any circumstances in which it shall be permitted for parties to divorce based on separation less than five years without the consent of one of the parties?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Yes – my wife left me on 20/7/07 and I have not agreed to divorce. I have recently had a letter from her solicitor in which it is suggested that court proceedings will be undertaken if I do not agree to mediation now. I need all the time I can get in order to prepare a defence. My understanding was that I had until June of next year. Hope this clarifies the situation!

Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Hi Alan,


A 5 years separation without your consent is not the only way your wife can petition you for divorce. Has the solicitor stated which of the other facts they shall petition under? Unreasonable behaviour, adultery etc.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No. not at all.

Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Well, they can either wait until July next year and petition you on the grounds of a 5 years separated without consent or on one of the other grounds. If you do not consent to the divorce then they cannot request a petition based on 4 years (or any lesser amount) without your consent.


They can petition you on grounds of unreasonable behaviour at any time. Likewise with respect to any adultery you have committed. If you simply do not replying by acknowledge service of the petition then they will arrange to have it served upon you by a Court Bailiff or process server. They can get the petition "on the books" as it were easily. It would then be for you to decide whether you wish to defend in open Court. Almost all divorce are undefended divorces, because in proceedings in open court are hugely expensive and open to members of the public.


Most people involved in divorces care not so much about the reason for divorce (ie. what is stated in the petition) but more about the financial settlement/children issues which they can secure for themselves. If you are concerned with your ability then to secure a preferable settlement and/or residency/contact with the children of the marriage then you can still do this once the petition has been issued.


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Kind regards,


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