The Christmas Turkey has been eaten, the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” are just a distant memory and you start to look forward to 2019 and all that it has in store. Sadly it’s about this time that some of you may feel that you need to take the first step towards a Divorce.

For most people this is their first Divorce and the process can be confusing.  It helps to know about the various stages before you start.  Hopefully the following might help!

  1. To start the process, you complete and file an Application for Divorce (a “D8” form) which sets out your details, the details of the Marriage and the reasons why the Marriage has irretrievably broken down, namely either adultery, unreasonable behaviour, separation in excess of 2 years or 5 years or desertion in excess of 2 years.


  1. The Application can be filed at a Divorce Centre by post – the nearest being either Bury St Edmunds or Southampton and there is a Court fee of £550.


  1. The Application is issued by the Court (given a Case number) and sent to your spouse with an Acknowledgement of Service form for them to complete and return to Court.


  1. Once the Acknowledgement has been returned you will be sent a copy and you will need to complete a Statement in Support (D80). The Acknowledgement of Service is attached and filed back at Court with an Application for Decree Nisi (“D84”).


  1. The Court now considers the Application and if the Judge is satisfied that you are entitled to a Divorce then they will list pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. You will receive a Certificate of Entitlement from the Court confirming the date of pronouncement.


  1. There is usually no need to attend Court and the Judge will simply pronounce the Decree Nisi on this date. The Court send you a copy in the post.


  1. You then need to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before you can apply for the Decree Absolute. Once the Court receive this application (“D36”) they generate the Decree Absolute and it is sent back to you and also to your (now ex!) spouse. This means that you are now divorced.


  1. The entire process usually takes between 3 and 6 months depending on how quickly you deal with the paperwork, how quickly your spouse responds and how busy the Court is.

This is a simplistic guide for straightforward Divorces.  If matters are more complicated then this will take longer and you may need the assistance of a Solicitor.  You also need to remember that the financial side of the Marriage needs to be dealt with at the same time to protect your finances moving forward.

Jo Spain

SpainWilliams, Family Law Specialists