The following is a brief outline of the divorce procedure.
1. Petition For Divorce
Your solicitor will draft your divorce petition and it is sent to the court and your spouse.
2. Acknowledgement Of Service
Your spouse must acknowledge the petition. They choose whether to accept or contest the divorce and whether to admit to, or contest, the grounds contained in your petition.
The Acknowledgement of Service must be returned within 7 days of receiving the divorce papers. If it is not returned, personal service of the petition must be arranged.
3. Request Directions
The Petitioner requests directions from the court and also files an affidavit in support of the grounds cited in the petition.
4. District Judge reviews the petition
The judge considers all the papers and decides whether the divorce can go ahead. The parties are not present, and the judge is looking to see whether the Petitioner has shown their case for the divorce. Only rarely does the judge request a hearing to determine whether the petition is acceptable.
5. Obtain Decree Nisi
Once the petition has been acknowledged the court can issue the Decree Nisi. The Decree Nisi must be in place before any financial orders are made by the court.
The decree nisi is pronounced by the judge in open court, but the parties do not usually need to attend.
Six weeks after the date of pronouncement of Decree Nisi, the Petitioner can ask for a Decree Absolute.
6. Obtain Decree Absolute
The Decree Absolute is the final certificate that legally dissolves the marriage. There is often a considerable delay between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute while financial and childcare arrangements are negotiated.