How Do I Get A Divorce?16th Oct 2017
Ending a marriage is emotional but we can help to make it less stressful and less costly. Here’s how to get divorced without having to go to court…
Your First Meeting With Us
We offer free initial chats (up to 30 minutes) at certain times each month at our Bournemouth, Christchurch and Broadstone offices. However, if you want to meet sooner then we offer a fixed fee meeting. Email us to find out more about free and fixed fee meetings.
The purpose of this first meeting is to see how we can best help you. We’ll tell you how much it could cost to get divorced and we’ll explain the divorce process to you.
Your spouse won’t be there. It’ll just be you meeting with one of our family lawyers. They’ll ask you questions such as:
- When did you separate? Are you still living in the family home or have you moved out?
- Do you have any children? Will they be living with you after the divorce?
- Will you be claiming the legal costs of the divorce from your spouse?
- Will your spouse agree to get divorced or will they try to contest it?
- Will you be citing ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as the reason for getting divorced? If so, we’ll need you to tell us some examples of what your spouse has done.
We’ll also ask you to provide us with your original Marriage Certificate. If that’s not available we’ll need a certified copy (usually from the Register Office).
What Happens Next…
If you’ve had a fixed fee meeting (rather than a free initial chat) we’ll send you a general advice letter within a few days of seeing you. This will outline in writing what you’ve told us, the options available to you and what we require to proceed with the divorce on your behalf.
After you receive this letter, we recommend you take some time to mull things over. It gives you a chance to take stock of your circumstances, talk to your spouse and decide whether you want to press ahead with the divorce.
If you’ve had a free initial chat (rather than a fixed fee first meeting) and need further help then you can either:
- see one of our solicitors at their normal hourly rate (contact us for more information about our rates)
- or book a fixed fee meeting.
Drafting Your Divorce Petition
Once you’ve had your fixed fee letter and decided that you want to proceed, we’ll draft your divorce petition and send it to you. After you’ve approved it we’ll send it to your spouse – giving them 14 days to reply.
Then we’ll send it to the family court on your behalf.
How Your Divorce Petition Will Go Through The Court
It’s important to note that – in most cases – you won’t need to appear in court in person. This makes it cheaper, quicker and easier for you (and your spouse).
We’ll simply send your divorce petition to the family court so it can be issued and sent to your spouse. We use form D8 for this.
The court will issue your divorce petition and send it to your spouse. This can take a week or so depending on how busy the court is.
Your spouse (or their solicitor) will have to complete an Acknowledgment of Service – form D10(1) – to say they’ve received your divorce petition from the court. This form will ask them a number of questions, including whether or not they agree to contribute to the spouse’s legal costs.
In some rare cases the spouse will refuse to complete and return the D10(1) Acknowledgment of Service form. When this happens we can get a process server to serve them formally with your divorce petition so your case can proceed.
Applying For Your Decree Nisi
A Decree Nisi is the court order confirming that the grounds for the divorce have been proved.
We will apply on your behalf for a Decree Nisi (using form D84). We’ll also draft a statement in support of divorce (D80). The exact form used depends on which of the five facts below have been relied upon in the divorce petition:
- unreasonable behavior
- two years’ separation with consent
- five years’ separation without consent.
We will send you the statement in support. Once you have approved and signed the statement in support then we’ll send both documents to the court.
The court will examine these documents and decide whether or not to grant a Decree Nisi. If so, the court will send you a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree (D84a) – this is the notice of your Decree Nisi date.
Getting Your Decree Nisi, Applying For a Decree Absolute
The court will issue your Decree Nisi (D29). This document says the court can see no reason why you can’t get divorced.
You can apply for a Decree Absolute (D36) – the document that legally ends your marriage – no sooner than six weeks and one day after you have received your Decree Nisi. However, before you apply for the Decree Absolute it is important for you and your spouse to resolve your financial arrangements. Finances are not resolved automatically as part of the divorce process.
The court can be very quick in replying to an application for a Decree Absolute. In some cases we have received them within two days of sending the application to the court.
Get Expert Help
To find out more or to book a free initial chat or fixed fee meeting, please contact divorce solicitor Bruce Gaudion 01202 355697.