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The No-Fault Divorce Procedure

The Divorce Process

How to get a divorce – an overview

To help answer any questions you may have we’ve put together an overview of the divorce process in England and Wales. As you will see there is a set legal procedure to follow and many forms to fill in along the way – all of which must be correct in every detail. Whilst this all might sound a bit daunting, don’t worry, here at Betteridges we are here to guide you from start to finish.

Key terms in a No Fault Divorce

  •  ‘Conditional Order’ this is a document which means that the court does not see any reason why you cannot end your marriage.
  •  ‘Final Order’ this is what you will receive when your divorce is finalized.
  • ‘Consent Order’ this is a document submitted to the court detailing both parties financial agreements reached via financial disclosure.
  • The person submitting the application is now the ‘Applicant’, the person responding to the application is the ‘Respondent’.

The Divorce Application

The Divorce Application is your request to the Court to start the divorce process. It outlines basic information about you, the marriage, and your spouse. There is a fee payable for the submission of a Divorce Application. If you are submitting a sole application you are the ‘Applicant’ your spouse will be the ‘Respondent’.

Respondent’s Acknowledgement of Service (AOS)

Once you have submitted your application to the Court your spouse will be required to respond with an Acknowledgement of Service.

20 week reflection period

The no-fault divorce has introduced a 20 week reflection period between the Respondent acknowledging service of the Divorce Application to the Applicant being able to apply for the ‘Conditional Order’.

Apply for the ‘Conditional Order’

After 20 weeks has elapsed the Applicant can apply to the Court for the ‘Conditional Order’. The Court will review your application. If the Court approves then they will issue a Certificate of Entitlement to confirm the date of your Conditional Order. This step takes 6 weeks.

The Court Grants the ‘Conditional Order’

When the Court grants the ‘’Conditional Order’ this starts a six-week cooling off period before you can apply for the Final Order. During this period you should submit your financial consent order to the Court for approval.


When you are divorcing it is important to have financial disclosure to allow a consent order to be formed.  A consent order is a legally binding document issued by a court it will detail how your join assets are to be divided such as money, property, investments, pensions, and savings. Furthermore, a ‘Clean Break’ provision can be included which prevents your spouse making future financial claims against you and your estate and prevents you from doing the same. If you do not apply have a consent order this could cause the possible issues such as:

  • Without a consent order, your ex-spouse could decide to change their mind about your financial agreement even if you have already put that into effect.
  • If you do not have a consent order with a ‘Clean Break’ clause if you were to receive an inheritance, start a new higher paying job, win the lottery, or purchase a property your ex-spouse might be able to make claim to your gains.

Therefore, it is imperative you finalize your Consent Order prior to application for the ‘Final Order’ to prevent future disputes and claims against your estate.

You apply for the ‘Final Order’

Once the six-week cooling off period has passed you will then be able to apply to the Court for a ‘Final Order’ this is the document which means you are officially divorced. However, it is important you have reached a financial agreement and put this into a consent order before applying for the ‘Final Order’.

The Court grants the ‘Final Order’

This is the final step in the no-fault divorce process and you are officially divorced.

Time periods

The minimum period is 30 weeks from start to finish. However, the Court are significantly delayed and the process is taking longer to complete. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you have a Consent Order finalized between receiving the Conditional Order and the Final Order to prevent future disputes and claims against your estate.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this is the legal procedure for obtaining a final order only; obtaining a final order does not end the financial links between you and your spouse. Call today to find out how to sever the financial links or register your details and we will call you back to answer your questions.

Get in touch with us today

Get in touch with us today to arrange an informal chat about your situation our highly experienced matrimonial solicitors and team are here for you every step of the way. Please do not delay. Call us now on 0333 456 4444 (International +44 1992 505 406) or complete our Online Enquiry Form and we will soon be in touch.