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Contrary to belief, divorce doesn’t have to be complicated. It is a three-stage process but there is no doubt that help is needed.

There are a few elements to think about when filing for a divorce. You and your spouse have decided that your marriage has come to an end and staying in a relationship is more destructive for you and the people around you than calling it quits.

Before you file for divorce, it is effective to approach the situation with your spouse before you start proceedings. Try sitting them down and bringing up the topic, explain that you think that your marriage has come to an end and that neither of you need to go into the situation all guns blazing, and this is something that can be done amicably. We know that this is not always the situation. In cases where perhaps your spouse is hostile and abusive towards you, sitting them down is not an option. Even if you are able to pop them a courtesy email or text just to let them know what page you are on and that divorce is something you are looking to start in the near future, this will prepare them for the paperwork that they will receive in the post.  It is good to get your spouses agreement but not vital.

You need to think about a few elements before filing for divorce. How long was the marriage/relationship? Even if you were only married for 1 year but together for 10 before that, you could still be eligible for some sort of financial settlement dependent on work situations etc (see previous blog ‘Financial Disclosure in Separation and Divorce Cases’.) If you were married for a number of years, this is definitely something to look at. There may be properties, pensions, savings involved.

You may also need to work out an arrangement with the children. This is something that should be done through a solicitor and approved by court.

These are both separate elements of a divorce, it is often believed that they all fall under the same proceedings, but this is not the case. Most importantly, you should start off with the divorce.


1 – Divorce Petition

After you have contacted your spouse to let them know that you are starting with the divorce proceedings is filing a divorce petition. The court will ask you to fill out a form asking details regarding the petitioner and respondent and a few details regarding your marriage. They will also ask you for the grounds of the divorce and whether you would like a financial agreement. Some people struggle dealing with the concept of divorce itself which is why it is important to know there are companies that can help. We, at The Divorce Manager, take all this paperwork off your hands for you so that your divorce can be as stress free as possible. It is also important that this paperwork is done correctly as the court waiting times mean that even if the petition is rejected due to an issue, it can take months to rectify due to the courts long document processing periods.

Once the petition is ready to go to court and signed by you (the petitioner), it is then sent off, along with a marriage certificate, to go through checks at court. The petition is then sent to your spouse to sign in the post.

Once they have received the petition to sign, they have a prompt of 7 days to do so. The actual time frame they have is 30 days until you take any further steps if they have not signed the paperwork. Once they have signed, they should return the document, called an Acknowledgement of Service, to the court who will then resend it to you/legal help to apply for the Decree Nisi.  If your spouse will not sign the paperwork, please see our blog on ‘What happens if my spouse doesn’t sign?’ for more info.


2 – Decree Nisi

The Decree Nisi is the second stage of the divorce and is compiled of two documents which ultimately reiterates the questions asked in the petition. Whether all the info still applies and that you are sure that you would still like the divorce to go ahead. This creates an opportunity for those who have perhaps rushed into divorce and decided they would like to reconcile with their spouse. This is then sent to court, once you have completed and signed, and sent for consideration by the judge.

The judge will then set a date for ‘Entitlement to a Decree’. This means that the ‘hard part’ so to speak is now done and it is just a case of waiting. There is a fixed time period of 6 weeks and one day from the Decree Nisi date for reconciliation that cannot be changed. The courts will send you a copy of the Decree Nisi certificate on the date it is pronounced.

Once the 6 weeks and one day is up when you can apply for the Decree Absolute, the final stage of the divorce.


3 – Decree Absolute

Now that the 6 weeks and one day waiting period is up, we can now apply for your Decree Absolute. This is a single page document to sign that finalises proceedings that is usually check and approved by the court pretty quickly.

Within about a week or two, you will get your Decree Absolute Certificate through in the post. It’s a single piece of paper stating that you are no longer married. Keep hold of this document and you may need this for any name change purposes.


For any help you may need with divorce or finances, please contact us on 0800 294 0452.


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