Do you need help with:
- Understanding what grounds there are for a divorce?
- Timescales for divorce?
- Getting a divorce?
- Choosing a lawyer to assist you?
- Sorting out the financial issues following on from divorce?
We have a team of experienced divorce solicitors who can advise and help you in respect to all aspects. If the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you have to use one of the following grounds to obtain a divorce:
The Divorce Process
The person who applies for a divorce is called the “Petitioner” and the other spouse is the “Respondent”. If you are applying then the first step is for your solicitor to prepare the Divorce Petition and any other necessary papers. Please note these points:
- To start a divorce you must have your Marriage Certificate. If you do not have it your solicitor can get a copy but they will need to know when and where you were married. This will be filed at Court and you will not get it back.
- Your solicitor will need full information to complete the Petition and particulars to support the “fact” that you are using to obtain a divorce.
- Your solicitor must have full details about any children such as their names and dates of birth, whether they are living with you or your spouse, who is maintaining them, where they will live after the divorce and information about what contact they are to have with the other parent.
- Your solicitor will advise about whether to make a claim for costs in the Divorce Petition against the Respondent.When all the papers are ready they will be sent to the Court and a copy will be posted to your spouse or to his/her solicitors. Your spouse will then return the Acknowledgement form to the Court saying that the divorce papers have been received. This is called an “Acknowledgement of Service”.
Assuming your spouse has returned the Acknowledgement form saying that the Petition will not be defended, the next stage is for your solicitor to prepare a statement for you to sign confirming the truth of the Petition. Next, the divorce file is put before a District Judge who looks at the paperwork in private. If the Judge finds everything in order, a “Decree Nisi” will be granted a month or two later. This is a preliminary order by which the Court says that it is satisfied that the “fact” alleged in the Petition has been proved. However, the Decree Nisi is not a divorce and you remain married. It is not until “Decree Absolute” that you are divorced. You (as the Petitioner) can apply for Decree Absolute six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi.
If for one reason or another you do not apply for Decree Absolute, then your spouse may apply to the Court for permission to obtain this, but not until three months have gone by since the Decree Nisi. The reasons for the delay have to be explained to the Court and the Judge must be satisfied that amongst other things, you and your spouse have not lived together since the date of the Decree Nisi, before he will make it Absolute.
Disputes over money or property are not likely to hold up the divorce except in specific cases arising on the grounds of a two or five-year separation. Sometimes a wife may be advised not to apply for the final Decree on the first available date for fear of potential loss of the widow’s pension and other benefits.
Defended divorces can cost a lot of money and take a long time. Legal Aid is not available. Defended divorces are very unusual. Disagreements about the arrangements for the children or over money or property can usually be dealt with, without the need to defend a Divorce Petition.
Most divorces will take about 4-6 months to obtain from sending the papers to Court to the granting of Decree Absolute.