Every year, many marriages end in divorce. Divorce can bring you both heartbreak and stress and will unfortunately have a significant impact for all parties concerned. If you do decide to divorce, it is important that you take steps where possible to keep things as amicable and productive as possible, aiming for a swift, clean break.
To support the process, you will need to find an expert solution provider to support you through this difficult time at the earliest stage. So, if you are wondering how to get a divorce in the UK, we have produced a guide to make you aware of what is involved in the divorce or dissolution process. Remember, we are here to help you every step of the way.
The first step
Providing you and your spouse, wife or husband, have been married for at least one year, and you can agree on 4 main things, you can get divorced quite simply in England and Wales. You need to agree:
- your marriage is over
- the legal reason that your marriage is over
- how you will split your property and possessions
- if you have children, how will you both continue to look after them in the best way possible
For a civil partnership the technical term is dissolution, but the general rules are similar. If you have been in a civil partnership or married for less than one year, in readiness for when the year is up, you can arrange a Separation agreement instead to help decide on the split property and possessions.
From 6 April 2022, the divorce process in England and Wales changed under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. Read more on What are the Legal Reasons for Divorce in our News section.
Once you are in full agreement that your marriage or civil partnership has failed because it has ‘irretrievably broken down’. Hopefully, you will have been able to agree on the rest of the points above, but if not remember we are here to help.
To to get a divorce in the UK, you will need:
- full name and addresses both yourself and your spouse (or civil partner)
- original marriage certificate or a copy of your marriage certificate certified (note that you will need a certified translation if it is not in English)
- proof of any name changes that may have taken place since getting married
If you cannot find your marriage certificate, you can either apply for a duplicate and order a copy of the certificate, for which a fee is payable. If you simply cannot locate your marriage certificate or a copy if you were married out of the jurisdiction you will need to make a separate application to the Court on what is known on a Form D11 and pay a further court fee. If you are uncertain, you must seek advice about this.
Once you have all of this in order, you can then apply for a divorce. You can do so either by using a divorce (or dissolution) application form D8 or apply online. If you apply using the D8 form, you should send one copy to the courts plus keep a copy for your records.
There is an application fee payable (currently £593). How this is payable depends on how you apply. There may be some support available from the Government if you are a low income or benefits). Once you have applied, a copy of the divorce application will be sent to your spouse.
Your application will then be checked by the court and, if all is correct, you will be sent:
- notice that your application has been issued
- copy of your divorce application stamped by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
- case number
What happens next depends on whether you made a joint divorce application where you and your spouse applied together, or a sole application if you applied on your own.
With a joint application, you will be provided with an ‘acknowledge receipt’.
For a sole application, your spouse will be sent the divorce application along with an ‘acknowledgement of service form’ notification. The acknowledgement of service notification is where your spouse will either agree with or dispute the divorce. This must be completed and returned within 14 days.
Whether you made a sole application or a joint application, once your spouse respond to a divorce by agreement, you need to wait twenty weeks before continuing with the divorce, by applying for a conditional order.
If you made a sole application and your spouse decides to dispute the divorce, they will need to submit an ‘answer form’ setting out in a genuine legal reason why they dispute the divorce. This means you may have to both attend a court hearing to discuss the case further. Rest assured, we will be on hand to help you through this process.
If your spouse doesn’t respond by submitting the answer form, you can then apply after 20 weeks for a conditional order.
Once the conditional order has been granted, you have to wait a further six weeks and 1 day before you can apply for the final order to finalise the divorce.
Once the final order has been received, your civil partnership or marriage will officially be over. Note that you are still in a civil partnership or legally married until you receive the final order and must not form another civil partnership or marry again until after that time.
When to contact our Divorce Lawyers in London
Everyone hopes that their divorce is a simple step by step process as detailed above. But we know that sadly simplicity is not always part of the divorce process. As an expert Family Law firm and Accredited Mediators, our solicitors will identify the most efficient strategy to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Based in London, we pride ourselves upon our caring approach to all our clients. We cover a range of legal issues including divorce law, separation, financial orders and settlements, arrangements for children, adoption, surrogacy, cohabitation, harassment and domestic abuse and international family law matters.
Our expert divorce solicitors are here to help you get a divorce in the UK, and all the elements that go with that, including childcare arrangements and financial settlements. We will also advise whether your case is appropriate for mediation, where you can receive guidance from our trained mediators and a collaborative lawyer.
Wondering how to get a divorce in the UK? Read more about our Divorce Lawyers in London.
To make an enquiry please fill in our form, call us on 0208 343 2998 or click to contact our divorce lawyers.