To apply for divorce, you’ll generally need to follow a 5-step process that involves filling in divorce papers and, potentially, going to court. The information below is a general guide on how to apply for a divorce that is uncontested, meaning the person being divorced doesn’t disagree with it. For a contested divorce, the process could take significantly longer and may involve extra steps to resolve disputes or arguments.
what happens if i make mistakes when i apply for divorce?
When you apply for divorce, the person applying is known as the Petitioner. The Petitioner is the one responsible for kick-starting the divorce and filling in the initial divorce form, known as a D8 form. If you are the Petitioner and you are filling in your D8 form, it’s really important to be aware of making spelling or grammatical mistakes or filling the form in with incorrect information.
The divorce petition costs £550. However, if you make mistakes on your form you may be liable for more money in court fees if the petition needs to be amended. This could also mean that the time it takes to apply for divorce will be significantly longer, as your forms may be submitted, sent back and subsequently re-submiited.
The Divorce Application Process
Serve the divorce petition
To begin divorce proceedings, the Petitioner will need to fill in the divorce petition, or D8 form. With this form, the Petitioner will also need to pay a £550 fee that can be sent to the court along with the D8.
The petition must disclose the reason for divorce and that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, based on 1 of the 5 official grounds for divorce.
Once the petition has been sent to the court, a copy will be sent on to the other partner (known as the Respondent). The Respondent will also receive an Acknowledgement of Service Form which needs to be completed and returned to the court, so divorce proceedings can begin (the Respondent will have to do this within 7 days of receiving the petition).
The Respondent will need to explain whether they agree or disagree with the divorce. Although rare, Respondents do occasionally defend the divorce, which can lead to elongated periods in court and extensive legal fees.
apply for divorce decree nisi
If the petition has been received and agreed upon by the Respondent, the next step is to obtain the Decree Nisi.
The Decree Nisi is the first official step in the divorce process, and can only be applied for by the Petitioner.
To do this, the Petitioner will need to submit an application along with a supporting statement confirming the validity of the details in the application.
These documents will then be sent to the court for approval. At this point, the court will need to agree with the terms and reasons for the marriage ending. Once this is confirmed, the Petitioner will receive a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree Nisi.
apply for divorce decree absolute
The next step when you apply for divorce is when the Decree Nisi is granted. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent will receive a court order confirming this.
There will also be a costs order which confirms who will be financially responsible for the divorce costs. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent can go to court to decide who should be liable for which costs.
6 weeks and 1 day after the Decree Nisi has been granted, the Petitioner can apply for a Notice of Application for Decree Nisi to be made Decree Absolute.
Finalise the divorce
The final step when you apply for divorce is when the court pronounces the Decree Absolute. After this point, your divorce is legally finalised, and you can start thinking about what comes next.
what else do i need to consider when i apply for divorce?
Frustratingly, some of the largest and most important areas of the divorce process are not automatically accounted for when you put in your divorce application. Complex areas such as property and housing, businesses, children and finances will require separate attention from your divorce application. This could mean that you will have to attend separate court hearings and may have to pay for financial or child arrangement orders.
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