The Stages of Divorce: From Divorce Petition to Decree Absolute

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The process of divorce in England is not very difficult. However, people go through it every day and even if both sides are for it, it doesn’t become any easier. In fact, there are about 9 steps from the initial divorce petition to the Decree Absolute.

The following is a summary of these 9 steps which also apply to the dissolution of a civil partnership from

1. Divorce Petition

The first step in any divorce process is filing the divorce petition. The person seeking the divorce often referred to as the petitioners, files a divorce petition or matrimonial order. The petitioner will file a divorce petition form. You’ll then send two copies or three if you name someone who had an affair with your wife/husband along with the marriage/civil partnership certificate to the court. You’ll also be required to pay a £550 fee.

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2. Respondent is Informed

Once the court receives your documents, it will send a matrimonial order application and other documents to your husband/spouse or the respondent.

3. Acknowledgment of Receipt

The respondent will the reply to the court. They do so by sending the court a completed Acknowledgement of service form.

4. Confirmation of Acknowledgment

The court will then send the petitioner a copy of the acknowledgment of service form.

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5. Responded Gets a Chance to Oppose

If the respondent opposes the divorce, they have up to 21 days to complete an Answer to a Divorce petition form, stating their reasons for opposing the divorce and send it to the court. The will also be required to pay a certain fee. At this time, the respondent can also choose to start their own divorce proceedings against the petitioner. They can, for example, present the court with a counterclaim about unreasonable behavior or adultery on the part of the petitioner.

6. The Petitioner Applies for a Decree Nisi

The Decree Nisi is basically a request to proceed with the divorce process. The petitioner will have to complete the Application for a decree Nisi form and send to the court together with a copy of the respondent’s response to the divorce petition and a statement from. The petitioner should confirm the facts set out in the original divorce petition in the statement form. There are 5 types of statement forms depending on the grounds for divorce and it is very important that you complete the one that coincides with the reasons provided in the original petition.

7. Degree Nisi is Granted

The judge will grant a decree nisi at this stage in the divorce. It can however only be issued if the respondent doesn’t oppose the divorce and the judge finds that the grounds are sufficient to grant a divorce. By granting the decree nisi, the Judge is essentially saying that there is no legal reason for the divorce process not to go ahead.

If the respondent opposes the divorce, the judge may either grant the decree nisi or sent both parties a “notice of refusal of judge’s certificate” form which essentially means that they can’t get a divorce. The judge may also ask for more information or order a court hearing.

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8. Application for Decree Absolute

The petitioner may apply for the decree absolute six weeks after the decree nisi is granted. The decree absolute is a document that ends the marriage. If 4-and-a-half months pass and the petitioner fails to apply for a decree absolute, the respondent can apply for it using the Application Notice Form.

9. Decree Absolute Granted

The final stage in the divorce process is when the decree absolute is granted. At this point, the marriage has been legally dissolved. It is, however, important to note that these steps only relate to the divorce itself. There may be other processes in regards to financial issues and arrangements for the children.

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