Once you have taken the decision to institute divorce proceedings, the basic procedure for obtaining a divorce is as follows:
- A divorce Petition evidencing one of the above five divorce facts is drafted and then filed with the Court, along with the original marriage certificate. Where there are children of the marriage, a form called Statement of Arrangements for Children needs to be completed and filed at the same time as the Petition. There is a fee payable to the Court on filing the Petition, which is currently £300. However, if you are eligible for Public Funding you may be fee exempt.
- The Court then issues the Petition and serves all the documents, including the Acknowledgment of Service, on the Respondent.
- The Respondent must then complete the Acknowledgment of Service within 7 days and return it to the Court. The Court then sends a copy to the Petitioner’s Solicitors.
- The Petitioner then needs to complete a form known as the Affidavit in Support of the Petition confirming that the Petition papers are accurate.. This document must be sworn in front of an independent Solicitor. This document is sent to the Court, along with an Application for Directions for Trial which is signed by the Petitioner.
- A District Judge then looks at all the documents that have been filed at the Court so far and if satisfied that the Petitioner has sufficiently proved the contents of the Petition and is satisfied with the arrangements for the children, he will file a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree and set down a date at which the District Judge will pronounce the Decree Nisi in open Court. It is not necessary for either party to attend Court when a Decree Nisi is being pronounced.
- Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced in open Court it is sent to the Petitioner and the Respondent and the Petitioner then has to wait six weeks and one day before the Decree Absolute may be applied for.
- The Petitioner fills out an application for Decree Absolute and sends it to the Court. There is a fee payable on application for Decree Absolute which is currently £40.00. However, if you are in receipt of Public Funding you may be fee exempt. The Court then issues the Decree Absolute and sends it to the Petitioner and the Respondent. The marriage is dissolved only once the Decree Absolute is obtained.