What is the process of divorce?

In England and Wales, the divorce process has three main stages. During the process, the person who files for divorce is known as the applicant and the person who receives the application is the respondent. It is possible for spouses to complete a joint application in which case the applicants will be known as applicant 1 and applicant 2.

In order to begin the divorce process the couple must have been married for at least 12 months.


Stage 1 – Issue divorce proceedings

The first stage is to submit the application using form D8.

England and Wales adopt a no-fault divorce system which means that spouses are not required to provide a reason for the marriage breakdown. Instead, the applicant (or applicants if a joint application) will be required to make a statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

On submitting the application, there is a court fee which is currently £593, payable direct to HM Courts & Tribunal Service.


Stage 2 – Apply for a Conditional Order

This is the second stage in the process once the application has been filed and served on the respondent.

The applicant must wait a period of 20 weeks from the date the court issue the application before they can apply for the conditional order. This is intended as a period of reflection, but also provides an opportunity for the couple to resolve the practical arrangements for the future in respect of finances and any children.


Stage 3 – Apply for a Final Order

This is the final stage in the process and officially ends the marriage.

The applicant must wait a minimum of 6 weeks and 1 day from the date of the conditional order before they can apply for the final order. It is possible to apply for a final order as a sole applicant, even if the application was submitted jointly.

If the applicant does not apply for the final order, the respondent can apply, but must wait an extra 3 months after the applicant could have applied before doing so.

A couple can agree to delay the final order, and it may be advantageous to do so if financial arrangements have not been resolved. As the divorce does not sever financial ties, it is beneficial for any financial settlement reached to be recorded in a financial order before the final divorce order is applied for.


How can SAS Daniels help you through the divorce process?

Our specialist Family Law team can help you through all aspects of a relationship breakdown including divorce, separation, financial settlements and issues regarding children.

The new online divorce process is designed so that applicants can submit the divorce application themselves. If you would like assistance with this however, we offer a fixed fee divorce package of £450 plus VAT.


Contact us:

For more information on the divorce process and advice, please contact our Family Law team via our contact form or call us on 0344 391 5884