How to start divorce proceedings


There are certain pre-requisites before you can start divorce proceedings in England and Wales:

  • You must have been married for at least twelve months.
  • You must have valid grounds for divorce.
  • Your ex-partner is likely to agree to the divorce.
  • You must see England or Wales as your permanent home, or be domiciled in England or Wales if you live abroad.

In the UK there are 5 steps  to take to obtain a divorce as follows:

5 steps to getting a divorce

  1. Find valid grounds for divorce to use.
    •  Unreasonable behaviour
    • Adultery
    • 2 Years Separation (both parties need to agree to divorce based on this fact)
    • Desertion for 2 years
    •  5 years Separation (both parties do not need to agree)
  2. File a D8 divorce petition form with the courts.
    This is an application for court permission to divorce, and reasons must be provided as to how the relationship has broken down and why you want it to be over.
  3. The Respondent signs and returns the acknowledgment of service
  4. Apply for a decree nisi.
    If your partner agrees to the divorce petition then you will receive a certificate of entitlement, which confirms that there’s no reason why you cannot divorce.
  5. Apply for a decree absolute.
    You will have to wait six weeks after the decree nisi is received before you can apply for a decree absolute, which then legally ends the marriage.


Divorce Negotiator can assist either both or one party in a divorce.  An amicable divorce, where we can assist both parties, will prove to be a lot cheaper and fairer.

How to start divorce proceedings was last modified: May 23rd, 2018 by John Fuller

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