I’ve separated, how soon should I divorce?

Posted 20th August 2021

When a married couple first decides to separate, they often have several decisions to make:

  • Should I be considering divorce? Is it too soon?
  • Should I go and see a solicitor yet?
  • Should we both remain in the family home?
  • What shall we do about our finances in the meantime?

The biggest dilemma many people face is the decision about how soon they should be starting the divorce process. 

 Should I commence the divorce straight away? 

For some, the priority is to start the divorce process and tie up any loose ends with their partner at the earliest opportunity, to enable them to move on with their lives.

Currently, the only grounds on which a divorce can be obtained when you have been separated for less than two years, is if the divorce petition is based on your spouse having a) committed adultery, or b) behaved in such a way that it is unreasonable to expect you to carry on living with them. These two grounds for divorce are known as ‘fault’ grounds and carry an element of ‘blame’.

During the divorce process, parties can agree on the terms of a financial arrangement governing how the finances accrued during the marriage will be divided. This can include arrangements for the family home, maintenance and pension provision, among others.

Should I delay the divorce?

An early divorce does not appeal to everyone and many people have their reasons for not wanting to divorce straight away. For some, the prospect of reconciliation cannot be discounted. Others would prefer to wait and start divorce proceedings consensually after they have been separated for two years. Or, you may be aware that the courts are in the process of introducing ‘no fault divorce’ (due to come into force on 6th April 2022) so you may prefer to wait and proceed with a divorce on this basis.

There are many reasons why you may feel that an immediate divorce is not appropriate. However, you may be concerned about how this will affect you in the future, particularly financially, if matters are left in abeyance. It is possible to enter into a separation agreement, detailing the terms of your separation. This can be converted into a formal agreement as and when divorce proceedings commence. Many clients see this as an amicable alternative to an early divorce.

Early advice is essential

Whichever option you choose, we strongly recommend that you take legal advice at an early stage. This will ensure that any decision you take will not adversely impact you in the future. If you would like advice and support regarding your separation, contact our specialist team of family lawyers today.


Emily Pope 

Solicitor – Divorce and Family Law

Aurora House Deltic Ave, Rooksley, Bradwell Common, Milton Keynes, MK13 8LW.

Tel: 01908 304560