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Getting divorced can be a daunting and stressful time for both parties. There are various steps which need to be undertaken to end the marriage. We have summarised those steps below to try help you understand the process of how to apply for a divorce.


One party must complete the divorce petition – Form D8. The person making the application (“petitioner”) must complete the relevant information on the form. The other party to the application will be referred to as a respondent.

To apply for a divorce, you must evidence that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is established by proving 1 of 5 facts which are:

  • Adultery

The other party has committed adultery and you can no longer tolerate living with them.

  • Behaviour

The other party has behaved in such a way that you can no longer be reasonably be expected to live with them.

  • Separated for 2 years and consent

You have lived apart in circumstances in which you both view to be permanent for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of a divorce petition and you each consent to a divorce being granted.

  • Desertion

The other party has deserted you for a continuous period of at last two years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition.

  • Separated for 5 years

You have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the divorce petition.


Once the petition has been completed, this will need to be lodged at Court alongside your original marriage certificate. A copy of your marriage certificate will not be accepted by the Court. If you are not in possession of your original marriage certificate you can order a copy through the government website for a small fee.


To apply for a divorce there is a Court fee of £550 which will need to be paid.


Section 10 of the petition deals with the financial aspects of your claim. The petitioner will tick the relevant boxes for what applies to their case. The divorce petition does not resolve any financial claims and it is important that you seek legal advice in relation to how to deal with property and finances associated with your marriage.


Once your application has been submitted to the court you will receive confirmation from the Court that the application has been issued and you will be provided with a unique reference number.


The respondent will be served a copy of the divorce petition and they will have the choice to defend the claim or return the acknowledgement of service confirming they do not wish to defend the claim.

Decree Nisi

If the respondent does not wish to defend the claim, the petitioner can apply for Decree Nisi (uncontested) by way of Form D84 and then wait for the Court to pronounce the Decree Nisi.

Decree Absolute

Once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced the petitioner has to wait 6 weeks and 1 day to lodge an application – Form D36 –  for the Decree Nisi to be made absolute. Once you have applied for Decree Absolute you will receive a sealed Decree Absolute Certificate means you are no longer husband and wife and a copy of this order will be sent to both of you.

In the majority of cases, financial issues should be resolved before applying for the Decree Absolute.

At Consilia Legal we offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss divorce proceedings and we would be happy to meet with you face to face or discuss your matter over the telephone. We charge a fixed fee for uncontested divorce proceedings which starts at £750 plus VAT if both parties are living in England and Wales.

For more information in relation to divorce proceedings and/or financial matters, please contact our family specialists Laura Clapton or Sarah Manning on 0113 3229222 or