A divorce petition (in Form D8) is the initial court document by which an application is made for spouses to divorce and is also known as an application for a matrimonial order. There is one ground for a divorce, which is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. A petition for divorce cannot be presented to the court before the expiration of one year from the date of marriage.
The divorce petition is completed by one spouse (the petitioner), filed at court and then sent to the respondent spouse. Proceedings for divorce must be commenced in the Family Court. HM Courts and Tribunals Service established a network of centralised divorce centres within England and Wales to handle the issue of divorce petitions, however the divorce centres are being phased out and replaced by an online system based at the new national Courts and Tribunals Service Centre.