We set out below the main steps you need to take to obtain a final divorce order. You will normally deal with financial issues and matters regarding children separately from this process.
1. Send Divorce Application To Court
Your divorce application is made on Form D8. We can prepare the paperwork for you or you can complete the forms yourself and lodge them with the court by post or online. Form D8 can be signed by one spouse or by both (a joint application). There is no need to include any reasons for the breakdown of your relationship. You simply need to indicate that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. If you are represented by a solicitor he or she must discuss the possibility of a reconciliation with you and include a ‘statement tor reconciliation’ with your application.
2. Service Of Divorce Application
Once the court approves and issues your application a copy is served on any respondent (your spouse or civil partner) together with a form for acknowledging service and a notice of proceedings. If the application is a joint one the court will still send a notice of proceedings to both parties. Service can be carried out by your legal representatives or by the court
3. Acknowledgement Of Service
The respondent must file an acknowledgment of service with the court within 14 days of the application being served on him or her. This is a simple form which simply asks the respondent to confirm receipt of the divorce application paperwork.
Where a notice of proceedings is sent to joint applicants as described above each joint applicant must acknowledge receipt of the notice of proceedings within 14 days of receipt of the notice.
4. Disputing The Application For A Divorce Order
Under the no-fault system of divorce that exists in England and Wales there are very limited ways for a respondent to dispute the application. But he or she may argue for example that the marriage is invalid or there may be a dispute about the jurisdiction of the English court to hear the divorce application. A respondent who wishes to dispute proceedings must file and serve an ‘answer’ to the application within 21 days beginning from when the acknowledgment of service was required.
5. Application To Court To Make Conditional Order Of Divorce or Dissolution
20 weeks after the court has issued the application (Step 2 above) it is in a position to make the formal conditional order of divorce or dissolution. It can only do so however if the time for filing the acknowledgment of service has expired and there has been no indication that the proceedings will be disputed. When applying for the conditional order the applicant (or applicants) must confirm that none of the information in the original application has changed since it was issued. In this way the applicant(s) verifies that he or she still wishes the divorce or dissolution to proceed. The application is made on Form D84.
6. Conditional Order
Unless the case is disputed the court will issue the first divorce decree, called a conditional order. This confirms that the applicant(s) is entitled to a divorce. There is no need for you to attend court and the order will be sent to you or your legal representatives. If costs have been claimed an order is also made for them to be paid if appropriate.
Remember, you are not divorced until you have obtained a final order.
If you have not completed a financial settlement by this point you need to think hard (with our advice) as to whether you should proceed to final order stage before a full financial settlement.
7. Final Order
When six weeks have elapsed from the date of the conditional order the spouse or civil partner who applied for the divorce must give notice to the other for the conditional order to be made final (form D36). If the applicant fails to do this within 3 months the respondent may make the application for a final order. If the original application was made jointly then both applicants can seek the final order. If only one of the joint applicants wishes to apply he or she must give notice to the other.
Once the final order has been issued the court will send a copy to all parties and/or their legal representatives.
You are finally divorced and are free to marry.
Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470