divorce proceedings

The legal steps of divorce or dissolving a civil partnership

Step 1: The Divorce/ Dissolution Petition

The following must apply to you:

  1. You must have been married or in a civil partnership for at least 1 year;
  2. You must have an original copy of your marriage certificate (and if applicable a translation that has been certified by a notary public or authenticated by a statement of truth);
  3. The court must have jurisdiction to deal with the application (most frequently both of you will be habitually resident in England and Wales, however there can be other ways of securing jurisdiction of the court such as both of you being domiciled in England and Wales).

You need to decide who will be the petitioner, and who will respond to the divorce petition.

Further to this, you need to decide what reason the petitioner will use in the divorce petition. There are currently five reasons you can choose from:

adultery is a reason for divorce
  1. Unreasonable behaviour (less than desirable if you are trying to keep things amicable, but sometimes the only option with the law as it currently is!)
  2. Adultery
  3. Desertion
  4. Two years separation (and both of you agree – the most common option among our clients)
  5. Five years separation (only one person has to agree)

For more information see other blogs from The Divorce Surgery – How to file a divorce petition

A fee of £550 is payable too (this is an administrative fee).

Step 2: The Acknowledgment of Service

This is a form sent from the court to the respondent to the petition. They need to complete it and send it back. In this form, they confirm they agree to the divorce/ dissolution.

letter box

Step 3: Decree Nisi

A District Judge will review your petition and either agree or disagree that the ground for divorce/ dissolution has been met. They must be satisfied that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ such as the petitioner could not reasonably be expected to carry on living with the respondent.

If they agree, a certificate of entitlement to a Decree Nisi will be issued and a ‘Decree Nisi Pronouncement date.’ It is important that this is obtained before financial settlement is reached as a consent order cannot be applied for until Decree Nisi has been pronounced.

Applying for a divorce GOV.UK

Note the whole process of filing the petition and applying for Decree Nisi goes through the one centre at Bury St Edmunds, and can take as long as 3-6 months. Starting the process early is a must therefore to avoid likely delay.

Step 4: Decree Absolute

Six weeks and one day after the date for Decree Nisi, the petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute. This should generally only be applied for after financial settlement has been achieved, and an order has been made (hopefully by consent) setting out your financial arrangements going forwards.

Written by The Divorce Surgery – Contact them here – they offer a unique service of “One Couple – One Lawyer” – contact them for divorce or dissolving a civil partnership.

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