This guide will walk you through how to file a divorce petition through the courts in England or Wales.
The legal steps you will need to take are the same (if it’s a straightforward divorce/dissolution) but the way in which you manage the process varies. The below options explains the legal part of the divorce process only and doesn’t cover financial or childcare arrangements.
You can manage the process yourself if you’d like to, you can divorce online using the government’s online portal.
There are low cost options if you’d prefer an expert to manage the process on your behalf. Book a free call here to discuss the options or do your own research online.
If you feel you need the protection of a lawyer or solicitor then this option is always available to you. This route is necessary if the divorce is the potential for international jurisdiction. If you're divorce / dissolution is amicable with no complications, there are definitely cheaper options available.
Step one: The Divorce / Dissolution Petition (also called the D8)
You need the following to start divorce / dissolution proceedings:
This can be done online using the government website or there's a lot of options available if you want / need support from a divorce expert. Read our straightforward guide to divorce options or book a no obligation call with one of our experts here.
Step two: The Acknowledgement of Service
The Acknowledge of Service form needs to be completed by the other person needs to complete and send back to the court that confirms that they agree to the divorce / dissolution.
Step three: Decree Nisi (D84)
This is when a judge will review your application and either agree or disagree that you have grounds to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership. If they agree the relationship has broken down and is past the point of repair, you will both receive a Decree Nisi certificate and a ‘Decree Nisi Pronouncement date’.
Step four: Decree Absolute (D36)
Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi Pronouncement date, the Petitioner (the person that filed the first petition) can apply for the Decree Absolute which is the final part of the process.
On average, if there are no bumps in the road, it takes three to six months for all of the divorce papers to be completed you divorce/ dissolution made legally binding through the courts. You can request a more personalised estimated by answering a few simple questions here.
It’s very important that you’re aware that ending your marriage or civil partnership through the courts does not end your financial relationship. If you want or need to legalise your arrangements and end your financial claims you’ll need to get a consent order. A consent order (sometimes called a financial order) is a completely different legal process that can be completed either as you divorce (generally the best option) or after.