The 5 steps of divorce – what to expect
Divorce can be an extremely complex process and with each individual comes a different set of circumstances.
To help, we’ve covered 5 of the most common steps that you will go through during a divorce below;
Prepare and issue the divorce petition
The Petitioner, (the person filing for a divorce), must lodge their petition with the appropriate family court and pay the initial fee. A certified copy of the marriage certificate will be required to start the process.
The petition will need to be based on one of the following grounds in order to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion (at least two years)
- Two years’ separation – if your spouse agrees
- Five years’ separation – even if your spouse disagrees
Depending on the grounds for divorce, the Respondent (the other party) may need to be provided with a copy of the draft petition before it is lodged with the Court.
Step 2: The Court issues the petition and serves a copy upon the Respondent
At the same time, the Respondent is sent an Acknowledgment of Service form. This is the Respondent’s opportunity to agree to divorce or choose to contest against it. If the Respondent does not contest the divorce, then the Petitioner will receive a signed copy and the divorce process continues. The acknowledgment form must be completed and returned within eight days. If the Respondent fails to return the Acknowledgement to the Court, the Petitioner may have to arrange for the papers to be issued in a way that can prove delivery.
On the basis that the divorce can continued uncontested, the Petitioner can apply for Decree Nisi
To apply for Decree Nisi the following divorce forms must be completed:
- Form D84
- Form D80
With the forms completed and with all the supporting documents collated, the court will receive the paperwork and If the application is accepted, the Matrimonial Order Application is added to the Judge’s list for pronouncement of Decree Nisi.
Decree Nisi obtained
Once the court receives the completed forms, the application can be added to the Judge’s list for pronouncement of Decree Nisi. This can take around two months from the date of the Decree Nisi application. Once the Decree Nisi is pronounced, the next step is obtaining the Decree Absolute, which confirms the divorce. If an application has been made by the Petitioner for a Costs Order then this will be made by the Court at the same time.
Apply for Decree Absolute
Once six weeks and one day have passed from the pronouncement of Decree Nisi, the Petitioner is able to apply for Decree Absolute, using the Form D36. Once the Decree Absolute is received from the court, the parties are now officially divorced.
If you are considering a divorce, read our other article What getting a divorce actually entails to discover all of the options available when ending a marriage.
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