Russell Brand recently joked that the hardest part of getting divorced was the divorce admin. The hardest part of divorce is always the emotional fall-out, but Brand does have a point. Getting divorced in England and Wales is a complicated administrative process. In this blog, I’ll explain what divorce admin you must do to get divorced.
There are three things you must do when you get divorced:
- Sort out your arrangements for any children you have
- Sort out your finances – who’s having what
- Divorce admin – i.e. Complete the divorce paperwork and liaise with the court
To complete your divorce admin, you will also need to ensure you and eligible to divorce and have grounds for divorce:
- Eligibility: married at least a year; permanent home in England or Wales; marriage that’s legally recognised in the UK
- Grounds: two years separation if your partner agrees to the divorce, five years separation if they don’t agree, Unreasonable Behaviour, Adultery, Desertion
Once you’ve made your financial and children agreements, you need to address the divorce admin. This means you must complete and file your divorce petition and apply for the pieces of paper to make your divorce final. The first thing to say is that the court process is slow and usually takes 5-6 months from filing your petition to receiving your decree absolute certificate. Divorce admin can be very time consuming and complicated which is why so many people ask us to do it for them but here’s what you need to do if you want to do-it-yourself.
File Petition & return acknowledgement of service form (approx. 6 weeks)
Fill-in your divorce petition (form D8). You are now the petitioner (the person seeking the divorce). Send the petition with your court fee and your marriage certificate to the court. You may be eligible for a discount on your court fees or even exemption you can check that here. The court will send the petition to your ex, known as the Respondent, along with an acknowledgement of service Form. Your ex needs to complete and return this to the court.
Tip: Encourage your partner to return the acknowledgement of service form immediately. If they don’t the divorce will progress anyway after 21 days and you will have to prove they have received the petition and this could cost you money. Contact us to find out more
Apply for decree nisi (approx. 8 weeks)
Once the acknowledgement of service Form is received (or 21 days have passed), you can apply for your decree nisi (Fill out and file Form D84). A judge will consider whether the marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably, and if satisfied that it has, your decree nisi will be pronounced a few weeks later and you’ll both receive a decree nisi certificate.
Tip: Make sure your decree nisi ready to go as soon as 21 days have elapsed or the Acknowledgment of Service form is received.
File consent order at same time as nisi application
Divorce admin gets more complex when you add in your finances. If you have made financial arrangements and want them to be legally binding you will need to file a consent order. Getting divorced on its own does not end your financial claims against each other. To end all financial connection between you have a consent order drafted. You will both sign the consent order and send it to the court along with an Application for a Financial Order Form (Form A) and a Statement of Information Form (Form D81).
Tip: Rather than take the risk, have a consent order. It provides peace of mind that you have finalised your arrangements and makes sure there can be no nasty surprises in future.
Apply for decree absolute 6 weeks and one day after nisi is received
Six weeks and one day after Nisi is pronounced you can apply for a decree absolute by completing form D36. This is the final piece of paper you need to be divorced… you have nearly completed your divorce admin…
Tip: You can use the natural break of six weeks and one day to agree and finalise your financial and children’s arrangements. This means you can start the divorce admin and legal processing before you have completed finalised negotiations. This saves time.
Divorce Finalised (approx. 2 weeks)
When your decree absolute is granted you will be sent your decree absolute certificate. You are now legally divorced and are free to re-marry if you wish.
Tip: Finally, make sure you write a new will so you can reflect your new single status.
If divorce admin seems complex, time-consuming and you’re worried you might hold things up by incorrectly filling in the forms then we offer a divorce processing service for £300. Our divorce coaches can help you agree on a divorce timeline and fill-in and file your divorce paperwork. They will liaise with the court. This will save you time and worry and keep things on track for a simpler, stress-free and amicable divorce.
If you have any questions, or would like some support, please book a free 15-minute call with one of our experts here.