Whether you are using a solicitor or doing it yourself, it’s useful to have an understanding of the process so that you can see how you are progressing through it.
No matter what reason you are giving for the end of the marriage or civil partnership, the process is always the same (provided that the other person doesn’t try to defend the divorce, refuse to agree to it or ask for a divorce themselves for different reasons).
In this case, Red and Blue have decided to get a divorce. They have agreed that Red will ask for the divorce and will use the reason of unreasonable behaviour. They have agreed what examples Red will give and Blue has agreed not to defend it. If Red and/or Blue have solicitors, some of the steps below will be taken by their solicitor, and some of them will need to be dealt with by Red or Blue personally. This is how the process works, step by step.
If they had no children, it would start at point 3.
1. Red (or Red’s solicitors) complete a form telling the court about the proposed arrangements for the children and send it to Blue to sign.
2. Blue agrees the details on the form, signs it and sends it back to Red.
3. Red (or Red’s solicitors) sends or takes the divorce petition (and the children’s form if there are children) to the Court, and pays a court fee (currently £340 unless the court waives all or part of the fee).
4. The Court checks the papers, gives the case a number, and sends the papers to Blue.
5. Blue completes the answers to the questions on the acknowledgement of service form and sends it back to the Court. This confirms that Blue has received the divorce petition and says whether they’re going to object to it or not.
6. The Court photocopies the acknowledgement of service form and sends Red a copy.
7. Red (or Red's solicitors) completes the correct form to ask the case to go ahead.
8. The forms are sent to the court and Red asks the court to fix a date for the Decree Nisi (or Conditional order if it were a civil partnership).
9. The District Judge reads the file. If it is all in order, the court fixes a date for the Decree Nisi/Conditional order and issues a certificate that approves the arrangements for the children (if there are any).
10. Letters confirming this go to Red and Blue.
11. The Decree Nisi/Conditional order is issued. A copy is sent to both Red and Blue.
12. Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi/Conditional order was issued, Red can apply for the Decree Absolute (or Dissolution order if it were a Civil Partnerships) by sending a form to the Court. Red has to pay another court fee (currently £45 unless the court waives all or part of the fee). If Red does not apply for the Decree Absolute/ Dissolution order within 3 months, Blue can apply. Red has to be told about this and can oppose it.
13. The Court checks the file and issues the Decree Absolute, sending a copy to both Red and Blue.
14. They are finally divorced.