Going through a divorce will be a challenging time, however we aim to make the process as straightforward as possible for you and achieve the best outcome for you and your family.
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 person completing this petition is known as the ‘Petitioner’ and the other party is referred to as the ‘Respondent’. The form will then ask you to tick what ground you are applying to divorce under, namely;
- Unreasonable behaviour.
- Two years separation with consent.
- Five years separation (no consent required).
The petition will then go on to ask you to explain in more detail the reason for divorce.
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. 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 then forward a copy of this 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 disagree with the ground for divorce relied on. 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.
If the Respondent raises no issues with the petition and grounds for divorce, then no hearing are usually necessary and the process can be competed administratively.
Six weeks and one day from the date of the Decree Nisi will allow you to make an application for your Decree Absolute. A Decree Absolute is the final notification confirming that parties are officially divorced.
Parties are usually strongly advised that if there are any financial issues to sort out relating to the division of monies, including income and maintenance and assets, this this should be done before applying for the Decree Absolute. If you fail to do this and you apply for your Decree Absolute before you have resolved the financial issues, you make lose your rights and entitlements with regards to monies and assets accumulated during the marriage.
You may appreciate that getting divorced may take longer that perhaps initially expected. The divorce itself may take as long as it needs to finalise and sort out the financial issues. Only once the financial issues are concluded, should one then apply for a Decree Absolute.
However, 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.