How do you go about getting a divorce? Here is a description of the things you will need to do to get a divorce. Finding and choosing a divorce solicitor to represent you is vital if you are to get the best outcome from the divorce process.
How to get a divorce
There are three ways you can get a divorce. First, the traditional way - via a solicitor. Second, the DIY way, guided by a good divorce self help guide. And third, you can do it online.
How long does getting divorced take and what is involved?
Whichever route is chosen the whole divorce process is unlikely to take less than three or four months. The petition giving the reasons for divorce has to be issued along with the Statement Of Arrangements for children, if there are any, and lodged with the court which will then send a copy to the respondent (that's your husband or wife).
The respondent will be forwarded a copy of the Acknowledgement of Service which has to be returned to the court to confirm that the divorce petition has been received and that he/she will or will not be defending the divorce. As long as the respondent is resident in the UK they have seven days in which to reply. At this point they will, if they have not already done so, need to find a divorce solicitor.
The Acknowlegement of Service
Once the Acknowledgement Of Service is returned to the court a copy will be sent to the petitioner (that's you) or to their solicitor. If the respondent has stated that they will not be defending the divorce – which is normally the case – then the petitioner has to file an affidavit (a written statement containing evidence given on oath) to confirm that the details in the petition are correct and that the signature in the Acknowledgement of Service and the Statement of Arrangements is that of the petitioner.
This affidavit is then returned to the court with the request that it consider the evidence presented, with a view to continuing the divorce process.
The Decree Nisi
A District Judge, on receipt of the affidavit and the request to proceed, will then consider what is before him in the way of evidence (in reality no evidence is asked for if unreasonable behaviour is allsdged). As long as the judge decides that all is in order, a certificate will be granted to that effect and a copy sent to the petitioner giving a date for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. This does not end the marriage and is provisional only. It is neither expected, nor is usual, for either party to attend the court for this as it is really only a formality.
The Decree Absolute
Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced the petitioner must wait a further six weeks for the divorce to be completed. This delay cannot be reduced without very good reason and is obligatory.
Once this period of time has elapsed the petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute to be made on request and payment of a fee. The court will then normally pronounce the Decree Absolute within a few days of receiving these and will send a copy to each party. If the petitioner does not make a request for a divorce be made absolute within four and a half months the respondent can then request it but may not do so before this time.
The end of the divorce process and the financial settlement
The six week delay between the Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute obviously accounts for a good deal of the twelve or sixteen weeks necessary to complete the divorce process. This does not, of course, necessarily mean that the divorce settlement has been agreed or the financial responsibility for children sorted. This can add weeks or months onto the whole business of getting divorced.
It's a complex process which really needs the help of a good divorce lawyer. Lawpack have two invaluable guides for those contemplating getting separated or divorced. The DIY pack takes you through each stage of managing your own divorce.