To obtain a divorce order, you have to satisfy the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. If you have been married for less than two years, you will usually have to attend counselling before applying.
The first step is to provide evidence that you and your former spouse have been living separately for at least 12 months and that there is no reasonable likelihood that you will ever live together again. Importantly, you do not have to live in two different houses to qualify as separated. You can still live together under the one roof provided you satisfy the court that you are not living together as husband and wife. In other words, you are just sharing accommodation.
However, in this case, you will need an affidavit from a friend or a neighbour establishing that you no longer live together as a married couple. You will also need to prepare an affidavit yourself explaining what has changed in the relationship since separation (for example, you no longer entertain friends together and no longer do each other’s washing or cooking).
Once a divorce order has become final, you both have 12 months to apply to start proceedings to deal with financial matters. If you do not apply within that time limit, you will need the court’s permission to apply.
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