Difference Between Divorce, Dissolution and Annulment 

  1. What is the difference between a divorce, dissolution and an annulment?

Both divorce and dissolution are ways to end a legally binding relationship; however the key difference between the two is that where divorce is for legally married couples, dissolution is usually for those in a civil partnership.

Annulment on the other hand is a way to end a marriage by showing that it was never legally valid. Unlike divorce and dissolution, you can apply for annulment in the first year of your marriage or any time thereafter (usually within 3 years). However, if you apply years after the registry, you might be asked to explain the delay.

  1. What is the cost of a divorce vs dissolution?

The court fee for divorce and dissolution is £593. However, there will also be solicitors fees, if you wish to be represented.

  1. What are the grounds for dissolution of a marriage and for annulment?

There is only one ground for dissolution and that is the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

In order to annul your marriage, you will need to show that the marriage:

  • was never legally valid (‘void’) or
  • was legally valid, but meets one of the reasons that makes it ‘voidable’

You can annul a marriage if it was not legally valid in the first place, for example:

  • you are closely related to the person you married
  • one or both of you were under 16
  • one of you was already married or in a civil partnership

If a marriage was never legally valid, the law says that it never existed.

You can annul a marriage for a number of reasons that would make it voidable, such as:

  • it was not consummated. You have not had sexual intercourse with the person you married since the wedding. Please not that this does not apply for same sex couples.
  • you did not properly consent to the marriage, for example you were forced into it
  • the other person had a sexually transmitted disease when you got married
  • your spouse was pregnant by someone else when you got married
  • one spouse is in the process of transitioning to a different gender

As with divorce, your marriage legally exists until you annul it using one of these reasons.

  1. How long does it take to legally end a marriage?

Under the new no fault divorce system, divorce and the dissolution of civil partnership take a minimum of 26 weeks and can usually be completed without you ever needing to attend court.

A minimum timeframe of 20 weeks has been introduced between the application being issued and the conditional order being applied for. A further 6 week and 1 day period must then pass between the conditional order and the application for the final order.

  1. What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce which is not being defended or disputed. A contested divorce is more complicated, it costs much more, takes longer, and the parties usually have to attend court.

Under the new no fault divorce system, a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can only be contested on the basis of jurisdiction. It cannot be contested for any other reason. This is one of the most significant changes to come out of the divorce law reforms.

  1. Is a legal separation part of the dissolution process?

A legal separation allows you to separate, without divorcing or ending a civil partnership.

You may want a legal separation if:

  • you have religious reasons against divorce
  • you have been married or in a civil partnership for less than a year
  • you want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage or civil partnership

To get a legal separation, you need to fill in a separation application and send it to the court. The court fee for getting a legal separation is £365. However, if you wish to have legal representation, you will also need to factor in the cost for this too.

  1. Do you give free advice on the breakdown of a civil partnership?

We provide an initial telephone consultation, which is free of charge and without any further obligation.

Contact our family law solicitors about divorce, dissolution or annulment today.

At Breakthrough Family Law Solicitors, we are specialist divorce lawyers with a high level of experience in financial disclosure. Our expert team of solicitors can advise your legal rights as a man or woman when facing a divorce.

If you are going through a divorce or dissolution of civil partnership and you would like to speak to an expert family mediator, call our principal, Akash Soni, on 01494 328825 or  Make An Online Enquiry .

We inspire trust and confidence in our clients by offering high-quality advice in a clear, straightforward and compassionate manner and working tirelessly to achieve the right result.


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