Do you need to remain married to someone you no longer have any connection with? Whether that’s because you haven’t seen them for years, or because they have been violent or abusive towards you, it doesn’t seem right that you would have to stay legally bound to someone who is no longer a welcome part of your life, because they can’t or won’t sign divorce papers.
The answer is, no, you can divorce without your partner’s consent, but only under particular circumstances. At Saracens Solicitors, we’ve advised hundreds of clients on their marriage break up as a divorce solicitor in London. That includes those who, for various reasons, are no longer in contact with their spouse.
In England and Wales, there is one ground for divorce and that is irreconcilable differences. One partner has to apply to the court via their divorce solicitor in London, with evidence of at least one of 5 reasons as to why the couple are irreconcilable. The 5 reasons are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years separation
- 5 years separation.
The 2 years separation reason is given by partners who agree to the divorce, as it requires the consent of both parties. For the other reasons, you don’t need your spouse to be on board, you can go ahead and apply to the court through your divorce solicitor in London. However, if your former partner doesn’t acknowledge the divorce petition, this can hold things up considerably. Even if you no longer have an address for them, you have to do everything you can to find them. This is why sometimes spouses hire private detectives to track down their errant partner.
If you can’t find your spouse or they refuse to acknowledge the divorce petition, there are 3 routes you can take:
- present any written communication from your spouse about the divorce, including text and email, to the court as evidence of acknowledgement via your divorce solicitor in London, and they may proceed without the official forms
- hire a process server who will serve your ex with the papers with no warning and take a picture as evidence
- try asking your spouse to attend mediation to resolve the difficulties between you and find a way forward.