The divorce process in England and Wales explained

23 January 2017

The divorce process starts with a Divorce Petition, which will ask you to explain why the marriage has broken down. This will be sent to the other person, who will need to respond with an Acknowledgement of Service.

For advice call our Divorce Solicitors on 03306069626 request a call or start your divorce online and we'll call you.

The starting point for any divorce in England or Wales is the drafting of a divorce petition. This is completed by the person bringing the divorce, known as the Petitioner. When using our Fixed Fee Divorce Solicitor service your Divorce Solicitor will complete the divorce petition for you, then sent it for you to sign.

The divorce petition form asks you to explain why you believe your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You can give 1 of 5 possible reasons, which are:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years and you both agree to the divorce
  5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years

The divorce petition is filed online at HMCTS divorce service along with the original marriage certificate. If the original marriage certificate cannot be obtained then a copy can be requested from the Register of Births and Deaths for a small fee.

The Court will then issue the divorce petition which means that they allocate it a Court reference number. The divorce petition is then sent by the Court to the Respondent, who is the other person named on the divorce petition.

Upon receipt of the divorce petition the Respondent has 14 days in which to return the Acknowledgement of Service form to the Court. This form satisfies the Court that the Respondent has received the divorce petition.

The Acknowledgement of Service provides the Respondent with an opportunity to advise the Court that they have received the petition. It also gives them the chance to say whether they intend to defend the divorce petition and whether they have any objections to paying the Court fees, if the Petitioner has requested that.

When the Court receives the signed Acknowledgement of Service from the Respondent they will forward this out to the Petitioner who can then apply for the Decree Nisi. This is not the final decree in a divorce.

When the Decree Nisi has been granted by the Court the Petitioner has to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before being able to apply for a Decree Absolute. Once the Decree Absolute is issued the divorce is final and the marriage has legally ended.

With our Fixed Fee Divorce Solicitor service, a Divorce Solicitor will help you throughout the divorce process, whether you are the Divorce Petitioner or the Divorce Respondent.

How long does a divorce take?

Divorce Courts in England and Wales are currently taking anywhere between 6 to 12 months from drafting a divorce petition to receiving the Decree Absolute.

How much does divorce cost?

For uncontested divorce (not disputed) our Fixed Fee Divorce costs £450 including VAT. This service provides you with a Divorce Solicitor take to you through the usual steps to legally end a marriage in England or Wales.

For contested divorce (where one spouse does not agree to the divorce), or additional divorce services, we offer a Fixed Hourly Divorce Solicitor rate from £210 per hour including VAT.

Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work to be done on your divorce, that price will not change (providing there are no unforseen complications).

In addition to our fixed fee, a Court fee of £550 is payable. The Court fee has to be paid whether you use an online DIY divorce service or a Divorce Solicitor.

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