You’ve both made the decision. You’re getting divorced. You’ve explored every other avenue, but both you and your spouse know it’s time to end the marriage and start re-building.
Coming to that decision is hard enough. It isn’t the easy option, and the whole process can cause uncertainty, disruption and hurt.
Most people have very little knowledge of the divorce process. They may have seen friends go through a divorce or watched bitter court battles play out on TV, but unless you do your research, most people will feel like they are moving into unknown territory.
I have put together this simple guide that will explain each stage of the divorce process because the more informed you are, the easier it will be to navigate.
It is important to note that you and your spouse should arrange a financial agreement before applying for a divorce.
Finances might not feel like the number one priority at this stage, but putting a financial plan in place will make the divorce process more straightforward.
The Divorce Process
For many, the divorce process will be straightforward and will follow the outline below.
One of you will need to file for divorce. You will be known as the petitioner and will file the petition with the court. You can do this online here, although you must apply by post if you want to end a civil partnership or your spouse has a solicitor acting for them. The cost to apply is £550.
Once the petition has been lodged, your spouse will receive a copy along with an Acknowledgement of Service form. This form allows your partner to confirm the following things:
- They have received notification you have filed for a divorce and a copy of the divorce petition.
- They consent to the divorce
- They agree with the reason for the divorce being filed.
Your spouse should complete and return this document within seven days.
Applying for Decree Nisi
When the petition has been acknowledged, you will need to apply for a Decree Nisi. These documents must be submitted to the court, where a judge will review them. If satisfied with everything, a Certificate of Entitlement will be issued. Four to six weeks later, the Decree Nisi will be issued. This usually indicates that you are halfway through the proceedings.
You are not divorced until your Decree Absolute has been pronounced. From the Decree Nisi issue, you have to wait six weeks and one day before you can apply for your Decree Absolute. However, we don’t recommend applying until you have both sorted out your financial matters and have formalised the division of assets. Please try and come to a financial agreement before starting divorce proceedings.
Once the Decree Absolute is granted, you will be legally divorced. Remember, you can change your mind at any point of the proceedings, but you are no longer married once the Decree Absolute is issued.
Will it always be this straightforward?
This article provides a simplified version of the process and assumes that both parties want to divorce and do so amicably. There are so many factors to consider as you go through a divorce. You will need to sort out issues with money, property and children.
That is why it’s important to have a team of people around you who can advise you about different aspects you will need to deal with. And I don’t just mean the practical elements such as finance. The emotional impact of divorce is huge, even if you both know that it’s the right decision.
At Smart Divorce, I can help relieve some of the financial anxiety and stress you will experience during the divorce process. But, I also collaborate with a team of divorce experts, so can also put you in touch with other people that can help you.
I am a financial planner specialising in divorce. To find out more about me and how I can help you, join my Facebook group, where you will find lots of help, information and support.