The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process

There is only one way to get a divorce in England and that is by one party to the marriage applying to the Court on a document called a Divorce Petition.

The person applying for the divorce is called the Petitioner and the other party to the marriage, is called the Respondent.

The procedure to obtain a divorce is called the Special Procedure and is often referred to by the press as “a quickie divorce”.  There is only one process to follow however and generally, a divorce will take between four to six months from start to finish, and there are no short cuts.

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The Divorce Process

The process begins with the Petition being filed with the Court by the Petitioner, and in the Petition, the Petitioner must rely on one of five different facts to prove to the Court that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.  The Petitioner can rely on one of five different facts to prove irretrievable break down that the Respondent (the other party to the divorce) has behaved unreasonably, has committed adultery, has deserted the Petitioner for more than two years, or that the Petitioner and the Respondent have lived apart for more than two years and the Respondent gives consent to the divorce, or that the Petitioner and Respondent have lived apart for more than five years.

There is usually no need for the parties to a quickie divorce (the Petitioner and the Respondent) to attend Court during the process.  It can all be dealt with on paper.  There has to be a degree of cooperation by the Respondent who will be required to complete a form called an Acknowledgement of Service once he or she receives the Divorce Petition, on which he or she can confirm that the divorce will not be defended.  If this is form is completed and returned to the Court quickly, it will be enable the Petitioner to proceed with the next stage of the divorce which is to apply for Decree Nisi (please see Divorce Procedure for more information on how this is done).

Once Decree Nisi has been pronounced, the Respondent can apply for the Decree to be made Absolute six weeks and a day later and once Decree Absolute has been made (and not before) the marriage is dissolved.

We at Seatons can provide expert advice and assistance with all stages of the divorce process.

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