If you have decided to file for divorce from your spouse then there is a specific divorce procedure that you will need to follow. This page offers you an overview of the procedure to give you a better idea of what’s involved; if you are unsure of any point in the divorce procedure, just call our specialist divorce solicitors -they can answer any initial questions you have over the phone or in your FREE first 30 minute appointment.
How long does divorce take?
Assuming that your divorce is straightforward, is not challenged by your spouse and the issues are quite obvious, your divorce could go through in as little as around five months. This, however, will depend on how quickly you and your spouse act and the workload of the court. However, if financial matters are involved and there is no settlement agreed by the time you can apply for decree absolute – our divorce solicitors will properly advise you to delay applying for that final divorce order – for more information about why that could safeguard your financial position, talk to one of our divorce solicitors.
Meeting the grounds for divorce
The first step in the divorce procedure is to meet the grounds for divorce. You can file for divorce for several reasons: adultery, separation, unreasonable behaviour and desertion. Click here to find out more about these grounds for divorce.
Filing the petition
Once you are certain that you have grounds for divorce, you will need to file a petition – the document which darts the divorce process. The petition is generally filed with your local County Court and our specialist divorce solicitors can help you to prepare it. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action in what is naturally a difficult time for everyone involved.
If you are the person filing the divorce petition, you will be known in the documents as the petitioner, while your spouse will be referred to as the respondent.
When your divorce solicitor drafts your divorce petition, they will need to get hold of your marriage certificate [or a certified copy of the original is unavailable]. If there are children of the family under the age of 18, your solicitor will also need to draft another document – the Statement of Arrangements for Children, which will also need to be filed at court along with your petition.
Once the court has received your petition [and, if appropriate, Statement of Arrangements for Children], they will send a copy of those documents to your spouse (the respondent), along with another document called the “Acknowledgement of Service “. To move the divorce forward, your spouse is then required to acknowledge the petition by returning to the court the Acknowledgement of Service document in which they will need to indicate a whether or not they will object to the divorce.
If they fail to do so, your divorce solicitor will be able to take action to force them to respond and acknowledge the petition.
Agreeing to divorce
As long as your spouse agrees to your petition for a divorce, the court can inform your solicitor to proceed with the next steps. This involves drafting an affidavit [ie a sworn statement] the purpose of which is to confirm that everything you have written in your divorce petition is the truth. This will then need to be sent that affidavit back to the along with a good request for decree nice site i.e. a provisional or conditional divorce.
At this point, all of the documents relating to your divorce will be given to a judge. The role of the judge is to decide whether to grant you the divorce. If there are children involved, they will also consider the proposal you have made regarding arrangements for their care.
The judge agrees
Assuming the judge agrees to grant you a divorce, they will list your case for a Decree Nisi, which is the document that will confirm the end of your marriage. Although the judge actually reads out the Decree Nisi in court – you do not need to attend. At this stage, however, you remain married.
Your Decree Nisi hearing will generally be a few weeks after you have sent in your affidavit and other information, as long as the court is happy with everything that you have sent. You won’t normally need to attend this hearing, unless there is contention over who will be paying for the divorce, in which case the court might ask you to attend.
Until you receive your Decree Absolute, you will still be entitled to widower or widow’s pensions if your spouse dies. You will only be allowed to remarry after your Decree Absolute.
Getting your decree absolute
You will get a decree nisi certificate through your solicitor after that part of the process has been completed, and this constitutes the first stage in your divorce. You’ll then need to wait for six weeks and one day before you can apply to the court for a decree absolute. Once you receive the relevant certificate, you will no longer be married. You can also call off the divorce at any point in the proceedings, up until you receive the decree absolute.
If there are any financial or other disputes in your divorce, you might need to delay your application for the decree absolute as it is important that any issues are sorted out before your divorce is made final.
For advice from specialist Divorce Solicitors, contact us first.
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