7 Step Divorce Process
As long as your divorce is not defended and everyone complies with the time limits in force, you can get a divorce in seven easy steps.
How to get a divorce
Divorce is a legal process, and as such there is some legal jargon that you will need to get your head round. The first thing to know is that if you are the person starting divorce proceedings, then you are known as the ‘petitioner’, and your ex is known as the ‘respondent’.
Assuming that you are the petitioner, you need to –
1. File the divorce petition, which involves filling out a divorce petition form and sending it to your nearest divorce centre with your original marriage certificate (or a certified copy) and the court fee, which is currently £550. The divorce centre will send the divorce petition and some other forms to your ex and will let you know when he/she has received it.
2. Wait for your ex to respond to the divorce petition. To do this, he/she must fill out the acknowledgement of service form and return it to the divorce centre within eight days. Once this has been received from the respondent, the divorce centre will send it on to you. When you have received this, you can progress to step 3.
3. Apply for a decree nisi, which involves filling out an application for a decree nisi form and a statement form. There are actually five different statement forms, but you should only fill out one. This will be the one that corresponds with the reason for your divorce. Send both of these forms, and your ex’s response to the divorce petition, to the divorce centre.
4. Wait for the judge to review your case. If everything is in order, you will receive a certificate stating the time and date you will be granted a decree nisi.
5. Wait 43 days, starting from the date your decree nisi was issued. Once 43 days have passed, you can progress to step 6.
6. Apply for a decree absolute, which involves filling out a notice of application for decree nisi to be made absolute form and sending it to the divorce centre.
7. Wait for the judge to review your case. If everything is in order, you will be both be sent a decree absolute in the post. This legally ends your marriage and your divorce is complete.
This process is what is known as a ‘quickie divorce’. Often there are additional issues that must be addressed which can delay the process and necessitate legal intervention. For example, your ex might defend the divorce or might fail to respond to the divorce petition.
Additionally, you must come to an agreement as to how to divide your finances and how your children should be cared for. If you want to make a legally binding agreement regarding these matters, then it must be done before you get a decree absolute.
Therefore the divorce process is not always as simple as the one described above, particularly if you are in a dispute over the financial settlement or child care arrangements. If so, you might want to consider asking a family law solicitor for help.