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The Divorce Process

As specialists in Family Law, at Goodsells we appreciate how stressful and upsetting going through divorce proceedings can be. We will guide you through each stage clearly and sensitively, taking a pragmatic but robust approach at all times to protect your position and pursue your desired outcomes.

Grounds for divorce

To grant a divorce, the court must be satisfied that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. One of the five following facts is used to show this:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years separation if the other spouse consents to the divorce
  • Five years separation if consent is not given
  • Desertion

The parties in divorce proceedings

The spouse who issues the petition for divorce is known as the Petitioner. The spouse who receives the petition is known as the Respondent.

Divorce proceedings – initial stages

Once the Petitioner has started divorce proceedings, the Respondent must complete an Acknowledgement of Service. This shows that they intend to either accept or defend the divorce proceedings. In most cases, proceedings will be accepted. If this is the case, a statement in support of the divorce must be completed by the Petitioner. This is then forwarded to the court along with an application for a Decree Nisi.

Decree Nisi

A Decree Nisi is a document issued by the court to confirm that it sees no reason why the spouses cannot divorce. No decision can be made concerning a financial settlement until a Decree Nisi is pronounced.

Decree Absolute

Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, an application can be made for a Decree Absolute, which completes the divorce proceedings.

It is recommended that parties agree on a financial settlement before applying for a Decree Absolute as finalising a divorce before financial matters have been resolved can be detrimental to your financial position.

How long does a divorce take?

The length of time it takes to complete the divorce process will depend on your circumstances.

A divorce that is relatively straightforward and uncontested will typically take between four and six months if both parties process court papers promptly.

A contested divorce, or one where agreement cannot be reached on matters such as arrangements for the care of children, can take up to 12 months, or potentially even longer.

If you are unsure whether or not it's time to seek a divorce, read our blog: Should I end my relationship?

Contact our divorce lawyer in Clapham, London

For comprehensive advice on all Divorce matters, contact Goodsells Family Law, specialists in Family Law. We are friendly and approachable, and are available now to arrange an initial appointment. Call us today on 020 7622 2221 or complete our online enquiry form.