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Divorce Procedure - Undefended Divorce

The only ground for a Divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

You will need to rely on one of five facts to prove that your marriage has broken down.

  1. That your spouse has committed adultery
  2. That your spouse has behaved unreasonably towards you
  3. That your spouse deserted you at least two years ago
  4. You and your spouse have been separated for 2 years or more and you both agree to a Divorce
  5. That you and your spouse have been separated for 5 years or more

Applying for a Divorce

The Divorce Petition with the original marriage certificate or a certified copy together with the  court fee will be required.

The Divorce papers are sent to the court and the Respondent has 14 days to acknowledge receipt by completing the Acknowledgement of Service form which accompanies the Divorce papers and returning it to the court.

Once the Respondent returns the Acknowledgement of Service form to the court the Petitioner will receive a copy and if it is undefended, the Petitioner will be expected to complete a statement in support and apply for the Decree Nisi. An undefended Divorce is effectively a paperwork exercise without the need to attend court.

If the Respondent defends the Petition, the Respondent will need to file a Defence called an Answer. There will need to be a court hearing where both parties will be expected to attend court to give evidence. To defend a Divorce can be expensive, so careful consideration will need to be given if this route is to be taken.

The Decree Nisi

Once the court receives the statement in support, a Judge will consider the contents of the original Petition, the Respondent’s reply contained within the Acknowledgement of Service form and the Petitioner’s statement in support.  If the Judge decides that you are entitled to a Divorce, they will notify you of the date when the Decree Nisi (first stage of the Divorce) will be pronounced in open court.

If a financial agreement has been reached, then after the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, it can be sent to the court in the form of a draft Court Order for consideration by and approval of a District Judge.

The financial agreement cannot be approved by the court until the Decree Nisi has been pronounced.

The Decree Absolute

After a period of 6 weeks and 1 day from the date of the Decree Nisi, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute.  This will be an administrative process.

The Petitioner may deicde not to apply for the Decree Absolute if a financial agreement has not been reached.

If the Petitioner does not apply the Respondent can apply 3 months after the date the Petitioner could first apply. If the Respondent applies there will be a court hearing.

If agreement cannot be reached on a financial arrangement, court proceedings to resolve financial matters can only be started if Divorce proceedings have been commenced.

A financial agreement cannot be approved by the court until the Decree Nisi has been pronounced. 

If there is a dispute about where the children will live, this may affect the financial proceedings which are likely to be delayed until the outcome of the arrangements for the children have been finalised. 

Swati Somaiya
Direct Dial 0116 242 1255
Mobile 07739 507 532
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Dawn Salter
Direct Dial 0116 242 1297
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