UK spouse visa guidance

Spouse Visa holder reports to the Home Office

Estranged foreign spouse/partner.

There was a recent enquiry from a British Sponsor wanting to understand what steps the Home Office is obligated to take once she reported her marriage breaking down. Will her estranged husband be served with removal orders and still have the right to child contact?

With the government’s plans to ensure that the “no-fault” divorce route is quick, painless and easy to obtain, the number of divorces among foreign spouse/partners is set to rise. 

No official statistics are available to appreciate what percentage of divorces are from estranged foreign spouse/partners, last year.

What percentage of marriages end in divorce?

Part of Divorces in England and Wales, 2011. Released: 09 February 2013

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There is always speculation about the percentage of marriages that end in divorce, but what are the statistics?

Latest statistics (published December 2012) estimate that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. It is also estimated that:

  • 34% of marriages are expected to end in divorce by the 20th wedding anniversary.
  • An additional 6% of marriages are expected to end by the 20th wedding anniversary because one of the spouses has died.
  • Therefore 60% of marriages are expected to survive to the 20th anniversary.
  • 16% of marriages reach the 60th wedding anniversary.
  • The average marriage is expected to last for 32 years.

The graph below shows the percentage of marriages ending in divorce or because one partner has died, by each wedding anniversary.

Percentage of marriages ending in divorce or because one spouse has died, 2010, England and Wales

The Home Office supports reporting of marriage breakups to foreign spouses. The procedure is quite straightforward. As the British Spouse, you can report the relationship ending by writing directly to the Home Office; UK Visas and Immigration, Marriage Curtailment Team, 7th Floor, The Capital, New Hall Place, Liverpool, L3 9PP.  You need to be prepared to also explain in detail why the relationship has ended, and supply details for your children, and whether maintenance is paid by the foreign spouse, how much and how often? How much time do they spend with you or your ex-partner? Details of any family court cases you’re involved in. Forms you must send with your letter and include one of these forms with your letter – use the:

  • public statement if you don’t want the Home Office to tell your ex-partner any details from your letter
  • consent form if you’re happy for the Home Office to tell your ex-partner details from your letter

Send both forms to the Home Office, which then grants permission to contact your ex-partner at the address you give.

The Home Office will investigate the matter, and make a decision as to whether removing your ex-partner is in the best interest of the Public. However, your foreign ex-partner will apply for a new visa application and is entitled to legal representation. 

Such a situation is not resolved quickly by the Home Office, as a challenge under Article 8; the right to private family life where children are concerned must be taken into account by the Home Office. 

If you require support, there are organisations which offer domestic violence victims counselling and support, call:

Please click here for more information about Spouse Visas and Marriage Visas.

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