The prospect of a Divorce can be extremely daunting. The investment of one’s life and commitment can make the inevitable sometimes feel like an extremely costly emotional challenge.

At MW Solicitors we are here to help you understand the process and to support you at every stage of a Divorce with a minimum amount of delay, stress and acrimony.

What is the Divorce Process?

Michelle Fitzpatrick
Michelle Fitzpatrick
Partner, Mediator & Collaborative Lawyer - Family & Child Law

In England and Wales a divorce is granted on the grounds of “The irretrievable breakdown of ones marriage”.  and is established by reliance on one of five facts:

  • Adultery - The sexual intercourse between a man and woman.  This fact is not available to same sex partners or same sex marriages.

  • Unreasonable Behaviour - Behaviour which you cannot be expected to live with.

  • Desertion - Your Spouse intentionally deserted you for a period of at least 2 years.

  • Separation - Separation from your Spouse for 2 years and your Spouse needs to consent to the Divorce.

  • 5 Years of Separation - Your Spouse's consent to the Divorce is not required after a period of separation of 5 years or more.

Quickie Divorce

The concept of a quickie divorce is a misnomer. The process is in essence the same regardless of what fact you rely upon save that with 2 years separation the consent of your Spouse is required.

What are the Essential Elements to a Divorce

Amarjit Ryatt
Amarjit Ryatt
Partner - Family & Child Law

Before a Petition for Divorce can be presented to the Court you and your Spouse or Civil Partner must have been married for a minimum of one year.

What are the Legal Terms Used in a Divorce?

The party seeking a Divorce is the Petitioner and the party receiving the Divorce Papers is the Respondent.

Jurisdiction and Marriage Overseas

A Petition for Divorce can be presented to the Courts in England and Wales even if you and your Spouse married abroad. 

However, either one or both of you must have been habitually resident in England or Wales or have been domiciled in England and Wales for the prerequisite period of time prior to the presentation of the Petition to the Court. The jurisdiction of the Court can be difficult to understand but our expert Divorce Lawyers will be able to discuss this point with you during a Consultation Meeting.

Initial Contact with the Respondent

Our Divorce Solicitors are experts and will employ methods of good practice.  They will write to your Spouse before issuing Divorce Proceedings detailing the facts which are being relied upon for the Divorce and also dealing with who should pay the costs of the Divorce Proceedings.

Preparing and Issuing Court Papers

We will prepare the Divorce Petition and supporting documents.  We will require the original Marriage Certificate which along with the Petition and appropriate documents will be lodged at the Court together with a Court fee that you will need to pay.

Issuing The Divorce Petition and Service by Post upon the Respondent

The Court will post the Divorce Petition to your Spouse together with an Acknowledgement of Service Form to complete. Your Spouse will have 8 days in which to return the Acknowledgement of Service to the Court.

Failure to do so will result in our expert Divorce Lawyers taking the appropriate steps on your behalf to arrange alternate service of the Petition upon your Spouse or applying to proceed without further service.

Applying for a Decree of Divorce

Once an Acknowledgement of Service to the Petition has been returned by your Spouse, acknowledging that they do not intend to defend the Proceedings, an Application will be made on your behalf by our Experts for a Judge to consider your Divorce Proceedings as undefended.

However, if your Spouse chooses to defend the Proceedings your case will be contested and our specialised Divorce Lawyers will ensure that you understand the process and the cost implications.

Certificate of Entitlement to a Divorce

If the Judge is satisfied that you are entitled to a Divorce a Certificate will be issued giving the date for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. This is the first Decree you must achieve before the final Decree Absolute. If the Judge is not satisfied that you are entitled to a Decree we will receive the Judges Refusal Certificate and our specialist Divorce Lawyers will respond accordingly to the matters raised by the Judge in the Refusal Certificate.

Decree of Divorce

There is no need for you to attend Court unless agreement has not been reached in relation to the legal cost of the Divorce Proceedings. If the matter falls to the Judge to decide the Court may set a separate date to deal with the issue of cost and our expert Divorce Lawyers will advise you accordingly.

Decree Absiolute

An Application for Pronouncement of Decree Absolute can be made 6 weeks and one day after the pronouncement of the Decree of Divorce.

On pronouncement your marriage or Civil Partnership is legally dissolved. However pronouncement of Decree Absolute has serious financial consequences such as the loss of your Spouse’s pension on their death.  As a result our expert Divorce Lawyers may advise you not to apply for Decree Absolute until any financial matters are either resolved between your Spouse and yourself or through an Order of the Court.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who are going through the process of Divorce.

Our expert Divorce Lawyers have decades of experience and specialise in helping clients to resolve their divorce as pragmatically and as cost effectively as possible with the right financial outcome.  If you are considering or have already made up your mind that you want a Divorce and would like to discuss your options with one of our specialist Divorce Solicitors, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

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