7 Steps to Filing for Divorce in England and Wales

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If you are the point where your marriage is simply not working out and you want to get a divorce. You’ll need to know that it is a multi-step process. The good news is, getting a divorce finalized in England and Wales is not complicated. In fact, these simple 7 steps will help you get through your divorce – and if you’re looking for family solicitors in the London area, we can recommend Goodman Ray.

  1. Find you Marriage Certificate

The first thing you need as soon as you have decided to get a divorce is your marriage certificate. You will need it because you must file it in court at the beginning of your divorce proceedings. If you lost your marriage certificate, you can get a copy from the General Register Office. If you were married outside the country, you will need to get a certified copy of the certificate from the country where you were married.

  1. Start Your Divorce Petition

You can start your divorce at the Principal Registry in London or any other divorce county court. When choosing a court to file at, it is important to choose a divorce court that is located near you. This is important since you will need to make several trips to the court before the divorce is final. You will also need to fill the Form D8 also known as the divorce petition when filing.

  1. Give Your Spouse Notice of the Divorce Petition

Once all your divorce forms have been completed, the next step is to serve your spouse with the petition. The responsibility of sending the divorce petition to your spouse lies with the court. But it is up to you to make sure you provide the court with your spouse’s correct address. It is also a good idea to send a draft petition to your spouse discussing the contents of the draft petition with them. This will prevent most of the unpleasantness often associated with divorce.

Once the petition has been sent to your spouse, the court will send you a Notice of Issue of Petition, usually a week after you file your petition. At the same time, the court will post a copy of your petition to your spouse with an Acknowledgement of service Form for them to complete. Your spouse will have seven days to complete it.

  1. Your Spouse’s Response to Your Petition

One of the following events can occur once your petition has been posted to your spouse;

  • Your spouse may fail to respond to the petition, either because it was not delivered or they chose to ignore it. If the petition has not been returned to the court by the Post Office as undeliverable, wait 8 days for your spouse to respond. If your spouse has received the petition but hasn’t responded, arrange for them to be served in a way that can prove service.
  • Your spouse acknowledges service and intends to contest the divorce. In this case, you must wait 29 days for a response. After 29 days, you can ask the court for directions for trial. You can also seek representation from a solicitor if you don’t receive an answer or defense.
  • Your spouse doesn’t intend to contest the divorce. In this case you can ask the court to rule on whether the reasons stated in your petition are sufficient to grant a divorce.
  1. Applying for a Decree Nisi

You need Form D84 (application for a Decree Nisi) and form D80A through to Form D80E which coincide with the five facts for divorce. Make sure that you use the Form D80 that correlates to the facts you use to support your grounds for divorce.

  1. Getting Your Decree Nisi

Once the forms and supporting documents are complete, you will need to send them to court, stating that your divorce is undefended. A judge will examine your file and determine if the documents are filled correctly, that you have proper grounds for a divorce and that the proposed arrangements for your children are in their best interest. Your Decree Nisi will be sent to you and your spouse as soon as the judge decides that you have satisfied the requirements for divorce.

  1. Getting your Decree Absolute

A Decree Absolute finalizes your divorce. If you are the petitioner, you can apply for it 6 weeks and one day after getting the Decree Nisi. If you are the respondent, you can apply for it four- and-a-half months after.