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The jurisdiction to grant a divorce in England or Wales depends upon whether at least one of the parties to the marriage has sufficient connection with the country.

This is NOT decided based on which country you were born in or which country you were married in.

Eligibility to get divorce in the English courts is based on whether each of the parties are 'habitually resident' and/or 'domiclied' in England and Wales.

Only one or other spouse needs to be domiciled or habitually resident in England in order for either to be able to lodge a divorce petition in the English courts. The other spouse can be of any nationality, habitually resident anywhere or domiciled anywhere.

1) Habitually Resident

Anyone in the world of whatever nationality and wherever they were married can obtain a divorce in England so long as they have been habitually resident here for a qualifying period.

In general you need to have lived in England and Wales for 1 year to establish habitual residence. If you are domicilied in England and Wales and returning from living overseas then you would only need to be back for 6 months to establish habitual residence.

2) Domiciled

You have one country of domicile.

Your country of domicile is less likely to ever change than your country of residence. For example, if you are domicilied in the England and Wales but move to France to work for a few years, with the intention to return to England to retire, then for the period you are abroad your habitual residence changes to France but your domicile stays as England and Wales the whole time.

Given the same scenario - but change it so that you have no intention of ever returning to live in England, and in that case your domicile will also change to France.

When you are born you aquire a country of domicile from your father (or from your mother if your parents were not married at the time of your birth). Until you reach 16 your country of domicile remains linked to your parent's domicile.

As an adult you can change your domicile if you permanently settle in another country.

A typical example where domicile is a factor is in ex-pat divorces. A couple from England living for 5 years in Singapore can still get divorced in England and Wales because although they are resident in Singapore they are domiclied in England.


The modern, convenient and affordable way to divorce.

No-Fault Divorce £179

We provide the UK's lowest cost no-fault divorce service, managed by a well respected firm of solicitors. 

Online Mediation £250

Online mediation is a convenient and inexpensive way to agree on a fair financial settlement.

Consent Order £259

This legally binding agreement defines how assets (e.g. properties and pensions) are to be divided.

Court Support £250

Support for people who have to go to court to get a fair divorce financial settlement without a solicitor.