The Divorce process starts by drafting a Divorce Petition which is always be based upon the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, but supported by 1 of 5 facts, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent from your spouse, desertion or five years separation.
Once we have liaised with your spouse/civil partner and/or their legal representatives in relation to the petition (and potentially agreed the wording of the same) in accordance with the Family Law Protocol, we send the petition to the Family Court for issuing with the court fee of £550.00 and other documentation which we can complete without any input from you.
Divorce Petition is Issued by the Court
The court issues the Divorce Petition and assigns a case numberwhich starts the proceedings.
The court send your spouse/civil partner a copy of the sealed Divorce Petition together with an Acknowledgement of Service to complete.
From here on, your spouse will be known as the ‘Respondent’ in the divorce proceedings.
Respondent Fails to File an Acknowledgement of Service
It is not uncommon for a Respondent to refuse to cooperate.
If this happens we can instruct a Process Server to personally serve the Respondent with the paperwork.
This costs approximately £110.00.
After serving the documents, the Process Server provides a Certificate of Service.
This is filed at court to evidence the Respondent has been served and allows us to progress the divorce proceedings to the next stage for you.
Respondent Files an Acknowledgement of Service at Court
The Respondent is given 14 days to complete the Acknowledgement of Service and file it at court.
The form provides the Respondent with the opportunity to confirm whether they wish to defend the divorce or cross petition and/or confirm if they intend to defend any claim for costs made by the Petitioner.
The court then provides a copy of the sealed Acknowledgement of Service, allowing us to progress the divorce proceedings to the next stage for you.
Petitioner Applies for Decree Nisi
The next stage is for the Petitioner to make an application for Decree Nisi, the first stage of the divorce proceedings.
Whilst the application for Decree Nisi itself is rather straightforward, the Petitioner is also required to complete a Statement in Support of divorce based upon whatever fact (as listed above) supports the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage.
The Court confirms the Pronouncement of Decree Nisi
Upon receipt of the application for Decree Nisi from the Petitioner and after considering the Statement in Support of divorce, the court will provide both parties with a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree which confirms the date upon which the court will pronounce Decree Nisi in open court.
The parties are not required to attend court for the pronouncement of Decree Nisi, but this may be an opportunity for either party to make representations to the court in relation to any dispute over costs.
Court Pronounces Decree Nisi
As stated above, this is the first of two main steps you are required to take in order to bring your marriage to an end. After the pronouncement of Decree Nisi but before the pronouncement of Decree Absolute, you can still change your mind and remain married if you wish.
At this stage, you will receive your Decree Nisi certificate to acknowledge that your divorce has reached this stage.
Once a period of at least six weeks have passed since the pronouncement of Decree Nisi, the Petitioner will be entitled to apply for Decree Absolute. In reality, the period between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute is usually longer than six weeks as we take this opportunity to bring the financial matters arising from your divorce to a conclusion during this time. This is because the pronouncement of Decree Absolute can bring an end to a number of matrimonial financial rights.