In its simplest form, a Divorce is a Court Order putting an end to the marriage and changing one’s marital status from married to that of divorced. A Divorce is not an annulment of a marriage (a declaration that the marriage never took place).
Generally, a Divorce Order can be obtained, as of right, after the spouses have been separated for more than one year.
There are three situations which allow a Court to make a Divorce Order:
- The case where spouses have been separated for at least one year;
- The case where the spouse not making the request has committed adultery; or
- The case where there has been cruelty.
Family legislation, generally, provides for no-fault regimes. Rights and obligations of the parents flow from the consequences of the breakdown of the relationship and not the fault of the spouses.
The Divorce is an independent Order unrelated to the collateral issues of custody, child support, spousal support and property. It is therefore conceivable that spouses will agree to a Divorce Order although the other issues (such as custody and child support) have not been resolved.