Starting a Divorce
3rd May 2011
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Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful and difficult things that a person can do in their lifetime and can take a great toll on a person’s emotional state and wellbeing. Therefore to assist you in understanding the complicated procedure of initialising a divorce, we have devised this simple step-by step guide to get you clued up.

In order for a divorce to be granted you must be able to illustrate that the relationship has ‘irrevocably broken down’. To satisfy a District judge you must prove one of the following:-

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for a period of at least two years
  • Two years’ separation with consent
  • Five years’ separation

Once, a reason has been decided, you can get started.

Step 1: Once the divorce petition has been filed with the court, a copy will be sent to your spouse (‘Respondent’) together with the Acknowledgement of Service. Your spouse will have the opportunity to refute the allegations or to accept the terms in the petition, by returning the same.

Step 2: Once the Petitioner receives the completed Acknowledgement of Service from the Respondent, an Affidavit must be prepared in supported of the Petition. This is a sworn statement confirming the truth of the petition and formal request to the court to grant the decree of divorce.

Step 3: The District Judge will consider the full file of papers submitted by the Petitioner. If the Judge decides that the decree nisi should be granted then both parties will be notified of the date and time when the decree nisi will be announced in court.

Step 4: The court grants the Decree Nisi.

Step 5: Six weeks and one day after a Decree Nisi has been issued, the Petitioner may make an application for a Decree Absolute. If the Petitioner fails to apply for a Decree Absolute after six weeks, and still has not done so after another three months, the Respondent has the opportunity to apply for the Decree Absolute with the court.

In complicated cases, a request can be made to the Petitioner to delay the Decree Absolute until all the financial aspects have been settled  - settlement of matrimonial home, and contributions towards children etc.

Step 6: Once the Decree Absolute has been issued, you are officially divorced.

About the Author

Catharine C

Member since: 1st September 2011

I am a Solicitor/Partner at QualitySolicitors Roberts Crossley. At QSRC we offer a range of services catering for the needs of individuals with our conveyancing, family law, accident claims, personal injury...

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