Procedure for obtaining a Divorce: Undefended Divorce

If you have come to the conclusion that your marriage is at an end then you should seek legal advice from a Solicitor’s firm.  At Astle Paterson, we provide advice and assistance throughout the divorce process.

Martin Astle, Director at Astle Paterson sets out the divorce process, which can be straightforward – and you do not normally have to attend Court.

Divorce Petition

To commence the divorce process, a Divorce Petition (and other documents) must be filed at Court by the person instigating the Divorce (‘the Petitioner.’)  The Petition will usually be filed with the County Court which is local to the parties (should the parties live within the Burton upon Trent or South Derbyshire then the Divorce Petition will usually be sent to Derby County Court.)

Recorded on the Divorce Petition are the names of the parties, the address where the parties previously lived together, details of any children and confirmation that the marriage has been broken down irretrievably.   A statement is also included in the Divorce Petition which sets out the facts put forward by the Petitioner to prove the marriage has come to an end.

The Divorce Petition is sent to the Court accompanied by a number of documents (including a document detailing the arrangements which have been made in respect of the children (if any) and the original marriage certificate – if this cannot be located, a certified copy can be obtained from the local town hall or registry office.

Acknowledgement of Service

On receipt of the above paperwork, the Court seals the same with the Court’s stamp and then sends a complete copy to the other party (‘the Respondent’) by first class post.  The Respondent is then invited to acknowledge that he or she has received the Divorce Petition by completing and sending to the Court an Acknowledgement of Service document stating whether he or she has an intention to defend the Divorce.


On receipt of the Acknowledgement of Service form, the Court informs the Petitioner that the Respondent has acknowledged service and the Petitioner will then file with the Court a statement confirming whether any matters set out in the Petition have changed since it was issued at the Court.  Once this statement has been filed with the Court, the Court will consider all of the evidence (without the need for a hearing) and, if the District Judge is satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the Court will forward a certificate confirming this to both parties and it will fix a date for the formal pronouncement of the decree nisi.

Decree nisi

At the date fixed by the Court for the pronouncement of the decree nisi, a District Judge will read aloud the names of all persons obtaining decree nisi on that date in his office (known as ‘Chambers’).  There is no need for either party to attend the Court on that date.  The decree nisi is a conditional decree of Divorce; the marriage is not dissolved and the parties will remain married until the decree nisi has been made absolute.

Decree absolute

A Petitioner can apply to the Court for the decree nisi to be made absolute, 6 weeks and 1 day after the pronouncement of the decree nisi.   If the Petitioner has not already done so, the Respondent can also apply for the decree nisi to be made absolute, 3 months, 6 weeks and 1 day after the pronouncement of the decree nisi.

On receipt of the application, if the District Judge is satisfied that all of the papers are in order, he or she will make the decree nisi absolute and thereafter the marriage will be legally dissolved.  Kindly note, whilst the divorce process deals with the process of legally bringing the marriage to an end, it does not deal with any financial matters which may be needed to be dealt with or issues involving any children.

It is advisable that you seek immediate legal advice regarding any proposed Divorce. 

At Astle Paterson we understand that a divorce can be traumatic and confusing; we are well placed to provide you with excellent advice throughout your divorce.  To assist with matters, Astle Paterson (Solicitors in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) provide an initial interview at a fixed cost of £50.00 + V.A.T.

Please contact either Martin Astle or Paul Walters on 01283 531366 (or by way of email to or to discuss matters further.

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