Initiating a Divorce / Civil Partnership Dissolution

When faced with the emotionally upsetting breakdown of a relationship, it may be very difficult to see a way forward.  Our divorce and family lawyers have years of experience and will take care of the necessary legal quagmire while you come to terms with the emotional change in your life.  Sometimes knowing and understanding the process can help.

Below are some things to bear in mind from a legal perspective when initiating a divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

You will be granted a divorce if you can demonstrate that a marriage or civil partnership has suffered an ‘irretrievable breakdown.’ This includes circumstances such as:

  • Your husband or wife has committed adultery
  • Their behaviour is such that you cannot be expected to live with them
  • They left you at least two years ago and, they agree to the divorce
  • You have been separated for two years and they agree to the divorce
  • You have been separated for five years or more

Legal Proceedings

The legal proceedings surrounding a divorce are relatively straightforward. Disagreements tend to arise due to surrounding arrangements, such as living arrangements, money and children. At its simplest, the process is as follows:

Initial letter – We will start the divorce proceedings by sending a letter to your husband or wife to officially inform them you intend to start divorce action. It will advise them to seek independent legal advice if they haven’t done so.

Divorce petition – We then send the divorce petition to court. It will establish whether you will ask your husband/wife to pay the legal charges of the divorce. It will also outline if you have any other financial requests.

Acknowledgement  – Your Husband/Wife will have to file an Acknowledgement to indicate if they intend to defend the proceedings.

Decree nisi – A Decree Nisi is a statement from the court approving your divorce papers. If you and your husband/wife do not agree on who should pay the divorce fees, the judge pronouncing the decree nisi will make this decision.  A Decree Nisi can be applied for once the Acknowledgement is filed.

Decree absolute – The person applying for the divorce can have it made ‘absolute’ six weeks after the Decree Nisi. This legally dissolves the marriage.  However, where the parties have financial claims it is vital that they seek legal advice before applying for Decree Absolute as this could impact their claim.

For more information please contact our Divorce and Family Law department on 01283 531366 or email

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Contacting us about Initiating a Divorce

If you would like to contact us for advice on Initiating a Divorce and the processes involved, you can choose one of the following options:

Read more about: Cohabitation Agreements, Division of Divorce Finances, Getting Divorced with Children, Initiating a Divorce/Civil Partnership Dissolution, Pre & Post-Nuptial Agreements

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