Can I Get A Divorce In The UK? Can I Stay In The UK After I’m Divorced?

According to The Independent, divorce petitioning consultations received by UK law firms have increased by 95% during the pandemic. While we want our clients to be able to try to resolve any issues and conflicts in their relationship before deciding to file for divorce, when the relationship between husband and wife breaks down and divorce is inevitable, Chen Neill Solicitors can help you through the entire process, protecting your rights to the greatest extent, and minimising the harm caused by the divorce.

In this article we have conducted some example questions about divorce applications that we hope will be helpful to you. If you have any other than questions that are not related to divorce applications, such as financial division and child arrangements, please feel free to contact us.

Q: Both spouses are non-British citizens and married outside the UK. The husband works in the UK with a work visa and the wife came to the UK as a dependent on a Dependant Visa. After living together in the UK for several years, the wife wants to file for divorce. In this case, will the wife be able to file for a divorce in the UK and is she able to remain in the UK after the divorce?

A: A marriage registered in an overseas country can be recognised by the British government as long as both parties are able to marry according to their place of residence and meet the formalities required by the law of the place of incorporation. Even though some overseas marriage registration formalities may be invalid under the laws of England and Wales, as long as it meets the rules set out in the local regulations for registration, the court can still consider the marriage valid and accept a divorce application filed by one of the parties.

In answer to the above case, the wife can file for divorce in the UK, but if the wife does not obtain a visa other than the husband’s accompanying visa (Dependent visa) after the divorce, then she must leave the UK within the stipulated period.

Q: The husband is an EU citizen living in the UK and the wife is a non-EU or non-UK citizen who is also residing in the UK. Is it acceptable for the British court to accept the following case, the parties have registered their marriage in the wife’s home country and have lived as husband and wife in the UK for several years and one of them wants to file for divorce in the UK?

A: Same as the previous situation, the couple can file for divorce in the UK, but the divorce may affect the wife’s residency in the UK. If the wife is unable to obtain another residency visa after divorce, the Home Office may ask her to leave the UK.

In a marriage relationship, a party residing in the UK on a spouse or dependent visa may be affected by the divorce and may not be able to remain in the UK. But this problem can be solved by applying for other visas, and the solicitors at Chan Neill Law Firm have extensive experience in handling divorce and immigrant visa cases, which can make the divorce and subsequent stay in the UK as smooth as possible.

Case Study

A couple married outside the UK, the husband is a British citizen and the wife is an non-UK citizen. She lives in the UK with her husband on a Family Visa after marriage and has a child. After living together for three years, the husband files for divorce on the grounds of emotional breakdown, and after the divorce, the wife will lose the family visa that was originally approved for marriage. However, since they both have a child during their lives in the UK, and the husband is British, the child automatically becomes a British citizen at birth. After the divorce, we are able to help the wife to switch the dependent visa of the husband to family visa as a parent, subsequently, she will be able to remain in the UK to take care of the child.

If both husband and wife have no children and are not British citizens, and one of them lives in the UK with an accompanying visa that depends on the other party. They are able to continue to work and live in the UK by applying for one of the following visas: Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, Innovator Visa, or Skilled worker Visa after divorce.

Q: On what grounds can I request a divorce?

A: The divorce petition must provide information on one or more of the following five grounds to convince the court that the marriage has broken down to the point of irreparability in order to accept the divorce application. The five reasons are:

(1) Infidelity/adultery (2) Unreasonable behavior such as domestic violence (3) Abandonment (4) Separation for two years with the consent of the defendant (5) Separation for five years

Q: Do I need to appear in court after my divorce application is accepted in court and divorce proceedings begin?

A: Most divorce cases can be made in writing and the court will not require either spouse to appear in court. During the pandemic, if you file for divorce outside the UK and are unable to return to the UK during divorce proceedings, we can arrange a video conference or conference call for a meeting, or we can represent you if necessary.

Please contact our experienced Family Law team who are fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Portuguese,  Spanish, Russian etc.