Procedural Guide

How the divorce process works step-by-step.

Step 1: Divorce papers are prepared and filed with the courts to be issued

Your D8 application form is prepared and issued with your local family center. You are essentially applying to the court for permission to divorce, and showing reasons why you want the marriage to end.

The Court fee for your divorce application is £550 which is made payable to the Court [HMCTS]. When one issues their application they are expected to send 3 copies of the application form to the family center, with at least one copy should include your original signature.

As your Divorce will be progressed at your local family center you can call them directly for updates on your case. They will also write to you updating you on matters.

Step 2: Divorce papers sent to your spouse

Once the application has been issued with the family center an Acknowledgement of Service Form will be sent to your spouse as well as a sealed copy of the Divorce Petition so that they can read through and confirm whether they are in agreement with the divorce or not.

If your spouse does not return the Acknowledgment of Service Form back to the court within 21 days you can still look to proceed with your divorce without this but you will need to prove that they have had sight of the documents at least. There are a number of ways of doing this and these tips can be found within your advice packs.

Once the Acknowledgement of Service Form is sent back to the family center from your spouse a copy of this will be sent to you in the post so you can see their responses.

Step 3: Decree Nisi is applied for

A Decree Nisi is a document that states that your divorce is accepted by the Court and can now progress to the next stage which will be to end your marriage completely.

Decree Nisi is applied for once your spouse has sent the Acknowledgement of Service Form back to the Court and you have received confirmation of this. You will then be prompted to prepare your Decree Nisi application with accompanying Statement in Support. The Statement in Support will simply ask you whether matters remain the same from when you first prepared and issued your divorce application of if anything has changed.

Step 4: Decree Nisi is pronounced

Following your Decree Nisi application, a date for its pronouncement will be set which is where the legal advisor/Judge confirms that your divorce is permitted and may now progress with no further questions. You will not have to attend this pronouncement, not unless your matter is contested and you have been specifically requested to attend.

Step 5: Decree Absolute is received and your divorce is finalised

6 weeks and 1 day from the pronouncement of your Decree Nisi you will be in a position to apply for your Decree Absolute. This will be the final application within your Divorce Proceedings and notoriously the quickest of all the steps.

Once your Decree Absolute is received, ensure you keep this in a safe place, this will now override your Marriage Certificate and you are now free to re-marry.