DivorceUnfortunately sometimes marriages break down and end in divorce.

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Divorce

Legal Aid is no longer available to assist parties to obtain a divorce and many people are left to deal with this on their own. Sadly, therefore not only do you have to deal with the effects of the breakdown of your marriage which is very stressful in itself, you also have to manage the legal process when applying for a divorce.


You must have a valid ground for a divorce and show that there is a good reason for ending your marriage


You can give 5 grounds for a divorce.


  • 1. Adultery
    If your husband or wife has sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you find this situation intolerable you can apply for a divorce. Please note that you cannot give adultery as a reason if you lived with your husband or wife for 6 months after you found out about that they have committed the act of adultery.
  • 2. Unreasonable Behaviour
    Your husband or wife must have behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them.
    Behaviour that will be considered unreasonable by a Judge is as follows:
    • Physical violence
    • Verbal abuse, eg insults or threats
    • Drunkenness or drug-taking
    • Refusing to pay for housekeeping
  • 3. Desertion
    If your husband or wife has left you:
    • Without your agreement
    • Without a good reason
    • With the intention of ending your relationship
    • For more than 2 years in the past 2.5 years

    Please note you can still claim desertion if you have lived together for up to a total of 6 months in this 2.5 year period.

  • 4. Separated
    You can get a divorce if you have lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce. You must both agree to the divorce in writing.
  • 5. Separated more than 5 years
    If you have lived apart for more than 5 years it is usually possible to get a divorce, even if your husband or wife doesn't agree with the divorce.

If you wish to proceed to obtain a divorce then you will need to take the following steps:

Filing for a Divorce - Filling in the Divorce Petition

You will need to file for divorce and you do this by filling in a Divorce Petition. You can find this form here. Affordable Law for You can help you to either fill in the Petition or check your Petition prior to your filing your Petition at Court. If your Petition is incorrectly filled in it will be returned by the Court.

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The basics you must include are your:


• Full name and address

• Husband or wife's full name and address

• Marriage certificate - the original certificate or a copy obtained from a register office you will also need to include the names and dates of birth of any children (regardless of their age)

• If your husband or wife name the person you were unfaithful with, that person will also get copies of the divorce petition.


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You will need to pay a Court fee of £410 to commence Divorce proceedings.


Click here for more information about payment of court fees.


This is a lot of money and many people are not in a financial position to pay this, so if you are on a low income or on benefits you may be entitled a remission of fees.


Please go to this link for more information


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4. Send your Petition to your local Family Court


Once you have filled in the forms:

• You will need to send 2 copies of the divorce petition form to the court (3 if you have named the person your husband or wife had an affair with) • Make sure that you keep a spare copy for yourself.


If you receive a Divorce Petition you will also be served with a Notice of Proceedings form and an Acknowledgment of Service form. Retain the notice of proceedings form as it has details of the case number on it that you will required for further reference. You will need complete and return the Acknowledgment of Service form.

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If you don't respond within 21 days, your husband or wife can continue with the divorce as if they have agreed to it.


If you agree with your husband or wife's Divorce Petition then complete and return the Acknowledgment of Service form to the court within 8 days, and your divorce will go ahead relatively smoothly.

If you disagree with the divorce petition complete the Acknowledgment of Service form where it says "your defending the divorce" and return it to the Court within 8 days. The Court will then send copies of the Acknowledgement to your husband or wife. You will then have 21 days from the date that you received the Divorce Petition to state why you are defending the Divorce. This will require you to file an Answer. If you have difficult filling in this form Affordable Law For You can help you to complete your answer which you can access at:


http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=2651


You may have to pay a fee of £245 (Please see above for details regarding remission of fees which you may be eligible for)

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If your husband or wife agrees to your divorce you can apply for a decree nisi

A decree nisi is a document that says that the court doesn't see any reason why you can't divorce.

To get a decree nisi, fill in the application for a decree nisi which you can find at:
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=154.

If your husband or wife is defending the case, you need to fill in section B of the form, saying you want a 'case management hearing' before the judge. You will also need to complete a statement confirming that what you said in your divorce petition was true. There are 5 statement forms and you will need to use the one that corresponds with the initial ground you gave when applying for your divorce e.g.

  • Adultery statement
  • Unreasonable behaviour statement
  • Desertion statement
  • 2 years' separation statement
  • 5 years' separation statement

DON'T FORGET TO attach a copy of your husband or wife's response to the divorce petition, when submitting your application for the Decree Nisi.

If the judge agrees with your application, the court will send you and your husband or wife:

  • A certificate of entitlement to a decree
  • A decree nisi

After 6 weeks you can apply for a 'decree absolute' to end the marriage.

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If your application for a decree nisi is rejected you will be sent a 'Notice of Refusal of Judge's Certificate' form, saying why you can't divorce.

The form will tell you what to do next. The judge may want more information in writing, or you may have to go to a court hearing.

IF FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AND WIFE HAVE BEEN CONCLUDED (IN RESPECT OF BOTH YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN) YOU CAN THEN PROCEED TO OBTAIN A DECREE ABSOLUTE WHICH IS THE LEGAL DOCUMENT THAT ENDS YOUR MARRIAGE.

You need to wait at least 6 weeks after the date of the decree nisi before you can apply for a decree absolute. You must apply within 12 months of getting your decree nisi - otherwise you will have to explain the delay to the court. To apply for a decree absolute, fill in the Notice of Application for Decree Nisi to be made Absolute form which you will find here: http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/d036-eng.pdf

If you commenced Court proceedings prior to 1st July 2013 your fee for your decree absolute will cost £45.

If your husband or wife started the divorce, but refuse to apply for a decree absolute, you can apply for the Decree Absolute. The Court will give you an extra 3 months on top of the standard 6 week delay, before you can do this. If you decide to apply you will need to fill in an application form which you can access at http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/d011-eng.pdf. There will be a fee of £155. Having submitted your application you will be sent a hearing date to attend the Court with your husband or wife and the Judge will check that:

  • Time limits have been met
  • There are no other reasons not to grant the divorce

If the Judge is satisfied he will confirm that the Decree Absolute can be granted and the Court will then send you and your husband and wife a copy of the Decree Absolute.

You will need to keep the Decree Absolute safe as you will need to present it if you remarry or have to prove your marital status.

IF FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AND WIFE HAVE NOT BEEN CONCLUDED (IN RESPECT OF BOTH YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN) DO NOT PROCEED TO OBTAIN A DECREE ABSOLUTE WHICH IS THE LEGAL DOCUMENT THAT ENDS YOUR MARRIAGE WITHOUT ENSURING THAT YOU HAVE CONCLUDED THE FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT BEFORE YOU OBTAIN YOUR DECREE ABSOLUTE

If you have been unable to agree the financial arrangements that will follow after the Decree Absolute is granted then it will be necessary for both you and your husband or wife to send a Form E to the Court which you can find at http://www.divorcefinance.co.uk/Downloads/Form%20E.pdf.

Further it will be necessary to submit a Statement in support of your claim for financial arrangements. Both the Form E and Statement in support are fundamental in setting out your case in a manner which supports your claim regarding the financial arrangements that need to be concluded prior to the Decree Absolute being granted.

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How Affordable Law For You can assist you in divorce proceedings


Affordable Law For You can assist you with preparing these documents, and, ensure that you set out fully all the information required for a Judge to have the fullest possible overview of your financial needs.

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