What is the process of divorce?

In England and Wales the process has three stages. During the process, the person who files for divorce is known as the petitioner and the person who has the divorce filed against them is known as the respondent.

Stage 1 – Issue divorce proceedings:

The first stage is to issue proceedings on the basis that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

Often people think that a divorce petition can be filed on irreconcilable differences. Whilst there is a lot of support for no fault divorce, this is not the situation at the present time.

What are the grounds for divorce?

The overall ground is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. However, in order to file for divorce the person filing the petition needs to cite one or more of the following grounds:

  • Adultery;
  • Unreasonable behaviour;
  • Desertion for a period of two years;
  • Two years’ separation with consent;
  • Five years’ separation.

You can read more about the grounds on our “what are the grounds for divorce page”.

Stage 2 – Decree Nisi:

This is the second stage in the process once a petition has been filed and accepted by the court. A decree nisi is an order given by a court of law confirming the basis for a divorce exists.

The decree nisi gives the court the power to deal with finances and matrimonial assets such as the transfer of property, maintenance, payment of a lump sum, pension sharing order etc.

Stage 3 – Decree Absolute:

This is the final stage in the process. During this stage the petitioner can apply for the decree nisi to be made absolute six weeks and one day from the date the nisi was pronounced. The court then issues the decree absolute, officially ending the marriage.

On some occasions the petitioner fails or refuses to apply for the decree absolute. In these circumstances the respondent can apply three months from the date that the petitioner could have applied.

Sometimes both sides agree to delay the decree absolute, for example, if they have not resolved financial matters or substantial pension rights would be lost on decree absolute. If this is the case, it is necessary to apply to the court for leave and to explain why there has been a delay.

How can SAS Daniels help you through the divorce process?

Our specialist Family Law team can help guide you through the process from the initial stage of issuing divorce proceedings to the final stage of receiving your decree absolute and finalising the divorce. During this process we can help you:

  • Fully understand each of the grounds for the divorce;
  • Complete the petition if you are the person filing for divorce;
  • Respond to a petition if you have had proceedings filed against you;
  • Negotiate the division of any matrimonial assets and finances to secure the best outcome for you and any children involved;
  • Obtain a decree absolute and finalise the divorce.

Our team recognise that each family is unique and that it can have an impact on the whole family. With this in mind, we encourage you to solve matters outside of court through alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration. This approach not only saves you money but can help keep your relationship amicable and open to negotiations, reducing the stress on your whole family.

At SAS Daniels we can also help you resolve the legal matters surrounding Child Maintenance Agreements and Child Living Arrangement, often a sticking point in the process.

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