Divorce—client guide
Divorce—client guide

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Divorce—client guide
  • How do I apply for a divorce?
  • Starting divorce proceedings
  • Children and finances
  • Procedure
  • Agreeing the contents of the petition
  • Co-respondent
  • Filing the petition
  • Serving the divorce papers
  • Applying for the decree nisi
  • more

This document provides general guidance regarding divorce procedure. Your family lawyer will be able to provide specific advice based on your circumstances.

How do I apply for a divorce?

To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least a year. It doesn’t matter where in the world you were married, but you can only apply for a divorce in England and Wales if either you or your spouse meet certain residence conditions or are domiciled here. You should speak to your family lawyer about this if you are in any doubt.

The divorce process is generally administrative. This means that usually neither of you will need to see a judge to get a divorce as it is almost always agreed by a judge on the paperwork. The process is simple as long as your spouse does not decide to defend the proceedings and ask the court not to grant your divorce. When this happens, it is called a defended divorce and is a different process, but defended divorces are costly and thankfully very rare.

If you and your spouse are not in agreement regarding arrangements for children and finances these will be dealt with separately (but at the same time) from the divorce process.