Divorce Process in England & Wales

What is the Divorce Procedure in England & Wales?

In order to apply for Divorce proceedings in England & Wales, the Petitioner filing the divorce proceedings will need to show the marriage has irretrievably broken down and you wish to divorce your Spouse to obtain a Decree Absolute (Divorce Certificate) in England and Wales. However, you cannot begin the divorce process until you have been married/civil partnership for at least 12 months. 

Filing of the Divorce Petition

The person filing the divorce petition (D8) form is known as the Petitioner and the other party is known as the Respondent, he/she will receive the divorce petition. Only one party is required to file the divorce petition and the correct documents have been submitted to the family court. This includes the marriage certificate and court fee. 

Acknowledgement of Service

Once the court has issued the divorce petition, the court will send a copy of the sealed divorce petition to the Respondent for him/her to return and sign within 7 working days to respond. The Respondent can take longer to send the acknowledgement of service form back to the court. The purpose of the acknowledgement of services is to confirm they are aware of the divorce proceedings, make any amendments if necessary and decide whether they agree to the divorce or wish to contest it.

 

What happens if the Respondent fails to sign and respond to the AOS?

If the Respondent does not return the AOS form back within the prescribed time period of 7 working days, it is likely to cost you more money to complete the divorce process and instruct a court bailiff or a process server to personally hand the divorce petition to the respondent. If this occurs, the Petitioner will also need to make a separate application to the court and pay a court application fee to move onto the next stage of the divorce process.

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                        The Decree Nisi:

If the court is satisfied that the parties have agreed to the divorce and the fact that marriage is irretrievably broken down, the Petitioner can apply for application for Decree Nisi to the court. The court judge will then decide the divorce can move forward to the next stage and the decree nisi will be pronounced and you will need to wait for at least 6 weeks and one day from the date of the decree nisi being pronounced before you can make final application for Decree absolut

               The Decree Absolute:

This is the last stage of the divorce process. You cannot apply for a decree absolute (the final decree) until 6 weeks and one date after your pronouncement date. Once the court judge decides all legal formalities are complete he/she will issue s Decree absolute, which will formally and legally end the marriage/civil partnership.       

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What are the Grounds for Divorce?

You must choose one or more of the following reasons to support the fact that your marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably;

Adultery

The Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent

Behaviour

The Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent

Desertion

The Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition

Separated for 2 years and Consent

The parties to the marriage/civil partnership have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition and the Respondent consents to a decree/order being granted

Separated for 5 years

The parties to the marriage/civil partnership have lived for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition

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Is there a Divorce Fee?

The court divorce petition fee is £550.00, unless you are exempt such as being on a low income. If this is the case, separate forms will need to be completed together with evidence of your financial means.

Which documents are required?

In order for your divorce petition to be valid, you must provide the original marriage or a duplicate copy of the original together with the application, together with a certified translation in English if necessary. You must also ensure you know the Respondent’s address in order for the court to send a copy of the divorce petition and the Acknowledgment of Service form to commence the divorce services.

How long does the divorce process take?

If the divorce is uncontested and all parties agree to the divorce, it usually takes 4-6 months from start to finish in the issuance of the decree absolute (Divorce certificates). Please note, sometimes it can take longer depending on court resources and applications.

What if the parties have children to the marriage and finances?

If your relationship ends and you have children, you’ll need to agree where your children live. You’ll also need to decide how much time they spend with each of you. This is known as ‘Child Arrangements’. This can be usually informal or if necessary a formal agreement between the parties if you cannot agree. The court’s priority is to ensure that the child or children have a roof over their heads.

There are however, a whole variety of matters which the court considers on the ownership of property in divorce. When you divorce or dissolve your marriage or civil partnership, there are several options you have about what you do with the family home or finances.

How we can help?

Our Friendly Team of Family Law Solicitors are here to provide you with honest and transparent legal advice to our clients and help them achieve the best possible outcome including to their children and finances.

If you require assistances, please contact us or for a call back from one of our lawyers on 0203 7324736 or complete the contact form.

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