Divorce process can be broken down into the following steps:
- Step 1 Preparing the Divorce Petition
You will prepare the Divorce Petition (D8) and then file for divorce with a designated Family Court (approx. 1 to 2 weeks).
- Step 2 The Court issues the Petition
The Court issues the Petition. They send a copy of the Divorce Petition to your spouse together with an “Acknowledgement of Service” form (approx. 1 to 2 weeks depending on court timescales).
- Step 3 Spouse files the Acknowledgement of Service
Once your spouse receives the Acknowledgement of Service from the court they should complete and return this to the court (approx. 2 to 3 weeks).
- Step 4 You receive a copy of Acknowledgement of Service
The Court will then send a copy of the completed Acknowledgement of Service form to you, so that you can prepare the documents for the next stage in the divorce (Decree Nisi) (approx. 1 to 2 weeks depending on court timescales).
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- Step 5 Applying for the Decree Nisi (D84)
You will then prepare the necessary documents to apply for the first decree of the divorce(“Decree Nisi”) to be pronounced. (approx. 1 to 2 weeks).
- Step 6 Court considers if “the marriage has broken down irretrievably”
If the Judge is satisfied that the “marriage has broken down irretrievably” based on the information included in the Petition, they will issue a certificate for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. You will receive a certificate of entitlement to decree nisi (D84A) (approx. 4 to 6 weeks depending on court timescales).
- Step 7 Decree Nisi
The court will then grant the Decree Nisi and send a copy of this certificate to both you and your spouse (or through your respective legal representatives) (approx. 1 to 2 weeks depending on court timescales).
- Step 8 Decree Absolute (D36)
6 weeks and 1 day after the date of Decree Nisi you may apply for the final decree (“Decree Absolute”) by sending the appropriate form to the Court. (approx. 1 to 2 weeks depending on court timescales).
Divorce itself is a process to bring the marriage to an end. It does not deal with any financial issues arising out of your separation from your spouse.
- Get a Clean Break only Consent Order when you have no assets to divide and want to dismiss any financial claims that may arise in the future.
- Get a consent order when you and your spouse have agreed on how you want to divide your assets and want this agreement to be approved by court.
If you cannot agree
The more you agree, the less it’s going to cost you. We’re among the few solicitor firms that offer fixed fees on contested divorce proceedings; nonetheless contested divorce will increase your legal expenses significantly.
If you agree the arrangements, there is nothing else you need to do. The court does not need to approve the arrangements. You can record what you have agreed in a parenting plan which can help set out your expectations regarding the arrangements.
If you have not been able to agree the arrangements regarding your children after separation you should consider applying to the court for a Child Arrangements Order.