The breakdown of a relationship is never easy and when that relationship is your marriage it is normal to experience anxiety and uncertainty for the future.


    If you are considering a divorce, you may not know where to start in terms of the divorce process. You want to finalise and legalise your marital separation but need support and legal advice to be able to take the first step. You worry about how you will safeguard the children. And what about your joint assets and finances? It can all become somewhat overwhelming. . .

    That’s why our specialist team of divorce lawyers are by your side every step of the way, making the process as straightforward as possible for you and achieving the best outcome for you and your family.



    The Divorce Process Simplified.

    We understand how confusing and stressful the divorce process can sometimes be. In this next section, we explain everything you need to know about the divorce proceedings to give you clarity and help you to understand the process from start to finish.


    The Divorce Petition.

    The divorce process is started by completing a Divorce Petition (Form D8). This application form will ask you for your personal details, including full name, address and employment status etc.

    The Petitioner & The Respondent.

    The person completing this petition is known as the ‘Petitioner’ and the other party is referred to as the ‘Respondent’.

    Grounds For Divorce.

    The form will then ask you select and explain what ground you are applying to divorce under.

    There are five grounds, namely;

    Unreasonable behaviour.
    Two years separation with consent.
    Five years separation (no consent required).

    Issuing the Petition.

    Once the petition is submitted to court (all divorce petitions within London go to Bury St Edmunds Family Court), it will then be processed and ‘issued’ to the Respondent for his/her acknowledgment.

    Acknowledgement of Service.

    The Respondent will have 14 days to acknowledge service and this is done by signing a form and returning it to the court.
    Once the acknowledgement of service form is returned, the court will forward a copy to the Petitioner or their legal representative. On this form, the Respondent would have indicated whether or not they wish to defend the case i.e. disagree with getting a divorce and/or the ground for divorce.

    Disagreeing with the Divorce.

    In this circumstance, the court would schedule a hearing for the Judge to listen to both parties and decide whether to grant permission to divorce, known as a ‘Decree Nisi’. In the uncommon event, the judge decides not to grant permission to divorce because the petitioner has not proved the ‘ground’, then amending the petition may be possible.

    Agreeing with the Divorce.

    If the Respondent raises no issues with the petition and grounds for divorce, then no hearing is usually necessary and the process can be completed administratively.

    The Decree Nisi.

    Once the court is satisfied that the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce have been met a provisional decree of divorce is pronounced. This is known as the Decree Nisi. Although at this time the marriage still exists, the decree nisi is a document that confirms the court sees no reason as to why you cannot divorce.

    The Decree Absolute.

    The final decree which actually dissolves your marriage is known as the Decree Absolute. Once this has been granted you are officially divorced.

    Applying for the Decree Absolute. 

    It is necessary to wait at least six weeks and one day from the date of the Decree Nisi before making an application for your Decree Absolute. That’s because it’s the final notification confirming that the parties are officially divorced and rushing this through may have hugely adverse and far reaching consequences, particularly if there are any outstanding financial matters.

    Divorce Finances.

    We strongly advise that any financial issues relating to the division of monies, including income,  maintenance and assets, is agreed on before applying for the Decree Absolute. If you fail to do this prior to the Decree Absolute, you run the risk of losing your rights and entitlements with regards to monies and assets accumulated during the marriage.

    Are Financial Proceedings Always Required? 

    You may be in a more straightforward position where there are no real finances involved, no assets/property and no children etc and both agree simply to go their separate ways with their own salaries and no ties at all. In these circumstances a straightforward divorce, without the need for financial proceedings, would be possible.

    How Long Does a Divorce Take? 

    The time it takes to complete a divorce varies from case to case. A divorce where both parties are in agreement to end their marriage is likely to be quicker, roughly taking 6 months from filing the divorce petition to receiving a decree absolute. However, if circumstances are more complicated it may take longer than perhaps initially expected especially if there’s outstanding financial matters to resolve. Only once the financial issues are concluded, should you apply for a Decree Absolute, this could be as long as two years later.



    Get In Touch!

    From the initial consultation and completion of the Divorce Petition through to child agreements and resolving financial matters, Castelo are your local London Family Law Solicitors offering you expert legal services that support you all the way through to the Decree Absolute being granted.

    Get in touch with our family law specialist today to find out how we can support you in taking the first step.


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