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Getting a decree absolute can be relatively simple however you will need to undertake a separate process to make arrangements for your finances, property and children. These processes take place simultaneously. You can read more here about divorce and finances.

Whilst, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice to protect yourself and your family, the diagram below explains the divorce process.

This chart gives an overview of the legal divorce process including key stages and necessary actions by the divorcees to be.  1. Issue divorce petition. The divorce petition is a legal document which sets out the details of the parties, their marriage and the reason the applicant believes it has irretrievably broken down. Filing this document with the courts costs £550.  The person filing the document is referred to as the petitioner throughout the divorce process.  2.Court sends petition.  The court will inform you when they have received your petition.  If everything is in order, they will send a copy of the petition to your spouse. They are referred to as ‘respondent’ in divorce cases.  3. Respondent  The respondent has 7 days to acknowledge receipt of the divorce petition. To do this they must complete a straightforward form called an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’.  This mostly consists of a series of yes or no questions. The respondent will be asked if they agree that the courts of England and Wales have jurisdiction over the divorce and if they plan to defend the divorce or not. In most cases, the divorce is not defended.  4. The court sends a copy of the respondent’s acknowledgement of service to the petitioner   5. Petitioner files a statement in support of the divorce petition and  application for decree if the divorce is undefended.  Once the Acknowledgement of Service has been completed, returned to the court and a copy has been sent to you, it is now time to apply for decree nisi.  6.	Court confirmation .  If undefended, the petitioner then files a statement in support of the divorce petition and application for decree nisi.  The court will then consider whether a decree nisi can be made.   8. Decree Nisi is pronounced.  This is the first of two steps to being your marriage to an end. It is still possible for you to change your mind about the divorce at this stage or at any point up to the pronouncement of decree absolute.   9. Petitioner can apply for decree absolute, which is a legal document that officially brings a marriage to an end. Once decree nisi has been pronounced, the petitioner can apply to have decree absolute approved after a further six weeks and one day.  If this does not occur within this time-frame, you will remain married.   If the petitioner does not apply for decree absolute, then the respondent can do so after three months and one day have passed since the petitioner could have first applied.  Put another way, that means an initial 43 days followed by a further 3 months and 1 day. In this scenario the next step will be a hearing before a judge who may refuse Decree Absolute if there are outstanding matters yet to be finalised such as arrangements for children and finances.  Once the application has been granted then Decree Absolute will be issued. As mentioned earlier, Decree Absolute is the a legal document that officially brings a marriage to an end.  While Decree Absolute is technically separate from your financial settlement, the two are linked.  If you and your spouse are having difficulty sorting out your finances going forward this will not necessarily delay the divorce.  However any settlement that is put in place will not take effect until Decree Absolute has been pronounced. If you would like to speak to us about your situation and find out how we can help you through the divorce process then please call us on the number below.

The divorce process in England and Wales

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