Divorce Procedure

Divorce Procedure

Divorce/Matrimonial Proceedings

In order to obtain a Divorce, you must have been married for a period of at least one year.

The Application (formerly called the petition) has to be issued in any County Court in a divorce unit, and the unit covering the South East of England is based in Bury St Edmund’s.


To obtain an Order for divorce, it must be shown that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of the following facts;

  • The Respondent has committed adultery and the Applicant finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent.  The parties cannot have lived together for over six months since the adultery became known to the Applicant unless the adultery is continuing;
  • The Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent;
  • The Respondent has deserted the Applicant for two years;
  • The parties have lived apart for two years and both agree to a Divorce;
  • The parties have lived apart for five years.


The following documents have to be sent to the Court:-

1.                     The Application and a Divorce petition copy for service

2.                     The original Marriage Certificate, or a certified copy and the Court fee (this is currently £550)

The court will then send out the Petition to the Respondent. The Respondent then has seven days to respond by completing an Acknowledgement of Service Form.  Provided that the Respondent does not defend the Application, it is then possible to apply for the Decree Nisi by applying to the Court with a statement of truth.

If the court is satisfied that the Petitioner has proved the grounds for the divorce a date will be fixed for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.  The Decree Nisi is the first of two decrees which are required for divorce. Neither party has to attend court for the pronouncement.  The final decree is the Decree Absolute.

Some people may think that they can do this themselves, but there are risks that you should be aware of. These include getting the grounds wrong, or failing to deal with finances on divorce.


The earliest date the Petitioner may apply for the Decree Absolute is six weeks and one day from the date of Decree Nisi. Only after a further three months is the Respondent permitted to apply for the Decree Absolute and has to apply to the court for a hearing, whereas the petitioner’s Application is on paper only. The application for the Decree Absolute may be delayed until financial matters have been resolved.


If a Divorce is obtained on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour the Petitioner might be entitled to recover the costs of the proceedings from the responding party.  Those costs are often agreed.

 How we can help

At Gotelee Solicitors we are able to provide you with a quote for a fixed price divorce.

Next Steps

Contact one of our specialist Divorce Solicitors to help you with your divorce.

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