Get Support Throughout from Your BTMK Divorce Lawyer

We understand that starting the divorce process can be emotionally stressful, so we are there to support and guide you every step of the way.

And once you’ve decided you want a divorce, or if you’re responding to divorce papers, our solicitors are ready with good legal advice to get you through the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The Stages of Divorce

1. Filing a Divorce Petition/Matrimonial Order

The Divorce Petition is filed using the online portal for Divorce. You will be required to provide a copy of your original marriage certificate (or a certified copy).

At this stage you‘ll also need to pay the £593 court fee.


2. Acknowledgment of Service

The court will check your application and you will receive a case number, along with:

  • Notice that your application has been issued
  • A copy of the application stamped by the court

The court will send your spouse the divorce application along with an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ form. They will need to respond to the divorce application.

And if the reason for divorce proceedings is Adultery, any named third party will also be sent a copy of the petition.

Responding to Divorce Papers

When a Respondent acknowledges receipt of the petition, the court sends a copy of the Respondent’s ‘Acknowledgment of Service’ to the Petitioner. This moves the process forward.

A Respondent can also counter-claim and begin their own divorce proceedings.

If a Respondent fails to respond, you will need to consider other options. But our solicitors can talk you through the options.

However, if you are a respondent in a divorce case and need representation, get in touch. It’s important to speak to a legal specialist quickly and understand your legal rights. There are often time limits to respond to the divorce petition.

If Your Spouse Lacks Mental Capacity

You can still apply for a divorce if your spouse lacks the mental capacity to make decisions. But your spouse will need a ‘litigation friend’.

Our solicitors will advise you in these circumstances.

3. Certificate of Entitlement & Decree Nisi

Next the petitioner applies for a Decree Nisi (or Conditional Order if it is a civil partnership). This is effectively a request to proceed with your divorce.

If the judge can see no legal reason why a divorce cannot be granted, they will first issue a Certificate of Entitlement to Decree. This includes the date the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. It also includes a time frame to submit evidence that might affect the Decree Nisi becoming a Decree Absolute (which officially ends the marriage).

At this stage the court will also make judgements on how or if any costs are awarded. There will be a court hearing if the Respondent is defending the divorce.

If neither party submits evidence and the Respondent isn’t defending the divorce, the judge can issue the Decree Nisi.

Alternatively, a judge who doesn’t think the divorce should go ahead can issue a ‘Notice of Refusal of Judge’s Certificate’. In this case, you might be required to supply more evidence. Or attend a court hearing.

4. Finalising Child and Financial Matters

In legal terms, divorce only ends the actual act of marriage. If you want any legally binding arrangements on the division of assets and childcare arrangements you should try and do this before the final stage of divorce.

Unfortunately, these are some of the most emotive areas that accompany divorce proceedings and can be the cause of hostility between parties. Our solicitors understand how challenging these areas can be emotionally. We are accredited in family law so you can be sure of getting support but more importantly, good legal advice. Because this is what counts in the long term.

5. Decree Absolute – Ending Your Marriage

After the Decree Nisi has been granted, you have to wait 6 weeks and a day to apply for your Decree Absolute. But once this is issued you are no longer married.

Decree Absolute is the final stage of divorce. Once it is issued you are no longer married. You are then free to marry again.

The 6 weeks and a day ‘cooling off’ period can be extended. For example, parties might want to discuss the division of assets.

The respondent can also apply for the Decree Absolute.  This happens if three months has passed since the initial 6 weeks and a day period and the applicant hasn’t applied.

Court Costs & Other Costs

Solicitor’s fees are separate to court fees.

Court fees are paid to file documents with the court. Or if you apply to ask the court to make a decision:

  • Divorce fee: £593

If you apply to a court to decide on financial arrangements:

  • Financial Order Application: £275

If you can’t agree and need court intervention to come to arrangements over children or finances you will likely have to have shown at least one attempt at mediation. This is a Mediation Initial Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

If you’ve agreed on finances:

  • Financial Consent Order: £53

The Divorce process is very emotional but involves a lot of important paperwork and financial outlay. Amongst all of those emotions you need to make the right decisions on things that can affect you in the future. By focusing on these details and seeking relevant advice and support you will be able to ensure you are protected for the future

BTMK Family and Matrimonial team

Return to Divorce and Separation

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