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Divorce in the USA and UK

There are differences between divorce in the U.K.

People who are familiar with American and British culture differences will be familiar with the expression “two countries separated but one language.” This applies to many cultural differences including those regarding marriage and divorce.

Wedding Traditions

The United Kingdom has a wide range of wedding traditions. A hat is not only for women attending a royal wedding. This tradition is shared across all classes, so all female guests should wear one until the mother-of-the bride takes it off. Not everyone who is invited to the reception is also invited to the ceremony. Country churches are often used for weddings, as they have too few interiors to accommodate large groups.

Divorce can have subtle differences.

There is no “quickie” divorce, as it is sometimes called in the U.S.

However, it may be easier for couples who have struggled to get divorced in other countries to do so in Britain.
Divorce in England and Wales

A copy of the marriage certificate must be provided to initiate divorce proceedings in England or Wales. Notifying the spouse about the divorce proceedings is done by serving divorce papers. The court is served with divorce papers.

The petitioning party will then need to apply for a Decree Nisi. This is the first step towards the final decree of divorce. A judge will examine all documents and determine if they’re in order at decree nisi, the ‘conditional divorce” stage.

Three months after the proceedings began, the Decree Nisi is announced. A petitioner may apply for Absolute Divorce within six weeks after the Decree Nisi has been granted.

The United States: Divorce

The steps involved in US divorce proceedings are much simpler, but can take many months. This allows for reconciliation. The state in which the petition was filed determines the grounds for divorce. The court will decide the terms and determine whether assets are to be divided as community property or equitable distribution. Sometimes, prenuptial agreements play a role in the terms.

It is not as simple as it sounds to get a divorce in the U.K. The court might not grant a divorce if a spouse contests it. If the couple has been living apart for five years, however, the court can grant a divorce. Uncontested divorces accounted for more than 99 percent of all divorces in England or Wales in 2016. Few went to a final hearing.

No Fault Divorce

All states in the United States recognize no fault divorce. This is when both spouses agree that the marriage cannot be saved. Some states require that the spouses must live apart for a certain period of time before a petition can be filed. Contested divorces are rare and require specific grounds such as adultery or abandonment, prison confinement or inability to have sex intercourse or mental cruelty.

Adultery can lead to divorce in the U.K. if committed with another sex member. Separate sexual relationships are not grounds for divorce. Adultery does not necessarily mean one spouse will receive financial benefits from the final settlement. There are 21 states in the United States that have laws against adultery. This can often result in the petitioner receiving an improved settlement if they can prove that adultery took place.

Dual Citizenship

There are many similarities in divorce proceedings between the U.K. & the U.S. It is a good idea to look into the laws of both countries and consult an attorney familiar with your particular situation. So, you can seek divorce in the country most likely to offer the easiest and best result.