Either party can issue divorce proceedings provided that the couple have been married for more than 1 year and one or the other of them resides in England or Wales.
The person who commences divorce proceedings is known as the ‘Petitioner’ and his or her spouse is known as the ‘Respondent’
Grounds for divorce
There is only one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
To satisfy the Court that there has been an irretrievable breakdown the petitioner must prove one of the following five facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion for a period of at least 2 years
- Two year separation
- Five year separation
A divorce petition will be drafted and filed at court outlining proof that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The Court will then serve the proceedings on the Respondent, who should indicate whether they agree to the divorce or not, by completing an acknowledgement of service form provided by the Court.
If the Respondent agrees to the divorce and returns the acknowledgement of service form the divorce will proceed without delay.
If the Respondent fails to acknowledge service the Petitioner will have to consider making an application for ‘deemed service’ or asking the Court bailiff to personally serve the Respondent. This will delay the proceedings and result in additional costs.
Should the Respondent decide to defend the divorce proceedings costs will increase substantially.
Once the court is satisfied with the grounds for divorce, notice will be given for the date on which the Decree Nisi is to be pronounced.
The Decree Nisi (from Latin Nisi, meaning “unless”) is the legal document which confirms that the court can see no reason why the parties cannot be divorced.
The Decree Nisi is the first of two orders granted by the Court necessary to bring the marriage to an end. The Decree Nisi is not the final order and you cannot remarry at this stage.
Once the Decree Nisi is pronounced, the Petitioner can apply for the final order, the Decree Absolute.
Either party can apply for the Decree Absolute six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi is granted.
In certain circumstances the court can refuse to allow a decree absolute, for example, where there are any unresolved disputes over the children hence the Latin meaning ‘unless’.
How we can help?
AS Solicitors is based in South East London and is within close proximity to the London Courts and to specialist London barristers in the Inns of Court with expertise in family law issues. We are increasingly the choice for clients living in South East London.
Our aim is to provide you with an efficient service that minimises delay, resulting in a more cost-effective process for you. Having an expert to rely on will minimise the stress and worry associated with your divorce, and will allow you to focus on your family and your future.
Please call us right away for a consultation to enable you to judge our approach and to discuss what steps may be appropriate to protect your position in your own individual circumstances
T: 020 8318 4345
Divorce Solicitors and Lawyers in South East London, Lewisham, Lee Green, Hither Green, Greenwich, Blackheath, Eltham.