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Divorce Has Five Stages, Which You Should Know About
Stage 1 – Filing of the Petition
Stage 2 – Reaction to the Situation: The Response
Stage 3 – Submitting an application for a Decree Nisi
Stage 4 – Decree Nisi and Order for Costs
Stage 5 – The Proclamation of the Decree Absolute
Going through the divorce process can be challenging and time-consuming, with many concerns ranging from the emotional to the financial to the practical. This guide aims to make the process of getting a divorce easier for anyone who is considering it by breaking it down into five simple steps that anyone can understand.
Continue reading to learn about the five stages of divorce, as well as specifics on each stage and what you will be required to do.
The Petition is a formal request for information.
If you want to start divorce proceedings, you must first file a divorce petition with the court. The petitioner is the person who is filing the divorce petition. The only grounds for divorce are the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the inability to reconcile.
For a divorce petition to be valid in England and Wales, the petitioner must cite one of five facts to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably failed. Unreasonable behaviour, adultery (which is only available to heterosexual couples), two years of separation with consent, five years of separation or desertion are all examples of facts that can be relied on to support a claim.
The legislation will likely be passed in the near future to allow a divorce to be conducted on a ‘no-fault basis,’ recognising that this is more amicable and potentially less expensive than a traditional divorce.
The Initiation of Action
Once the petition has been filed, the court will send a copy to your spouse, referred to as the respondent, along with an Acknowledgement of Service form, which they must complete and return to the court for the divorce to be finalised.
In response, the Respondent is required to respond within seven days, and their response should indicate whether or not they wish to defend the divorce proceedings, whether or not they agree with the reasons for the divorce. Their position on whom they believe should bear the costs of the divorce proceedings.
Divorce proceedings are rarely defended, owing to the high cost of doing so and that it will have little effect on the outcome.
The petitioner may arrange for a process server to personally serve the petition on the respondent if the respondent does not return the Acknowledgement of Service form.
In exchange for this service, the process server will charge a fee and provide a statement of service that can be used instead of the signed Acknowledgement of Service to move the divorce forward.
Filing a request for a Decree Nisi
Once the Petition has been properly acknowledged, the Petitioner will need to file for a Decree Nisi, the first decree in a divorce proceeding and the first step in the process.
This is accomplished through the submission of an application form along with a statement in support, which confirms that the information contained in the application is accurate.
Following the filing of these documents with the court, and after the court has reviewed the documentation and determined that the Petitioner is entitled to a divorce, the court will issue a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree Nisi, which will specify the date on which the Decree Nisi will be issued.
Decree Nisi and Order for Costs
Both parties will receive a copy of the court order stating that the Decree Nisi has been pronounced in their respective cases. In addition to this, a “Costs Order” will be issued, which will specify who is responsible for covering the petitioner’s divorce-related expenses.
Both parties will likely have taken advantage of the opportunity to appear in court when the Decree Nisi was issued to argue their respective positions on costs if they chose to do so.
The divorce is not finalised until the Decree Absolute is issued, which can only be obtained after at least six weeks and one day have passed since the issuance of the Decree Nisi. The Decree Absolute can only be obtained after the Decree Nisi has been issued. The Petitioner has the right to file a Notice of Application for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute after the prescribed time period has expired.
The Proclamation of the Decree Absolute
Finally, the court will issue a Decree Absolute once the Notice of Application for Decree Nisi to be made Absolute has been received by the court. This will take place after the court receives the Notice of Application for Decree Nisi to be made Absolute.
It will be six weeks and one day after the date of the Decree Nisi that the Petitioner will be able to file a formal application for reconsideration. Once the Decree Absolute is granted, you and your spouse will be legally separated.
The acquisition of a Decree Absolute does not preclude your spouse from having a claim on your income and/or assets, as well as on any future inheritance you may receive in the event of your death or divorce. A clean break Consent Order is required in order to be fully protected from any future claims that may arise. It is frequently recommended that the Petitioner refrains from applying for a Decree Absolute until financial issues have been resolved in their favour.
Suppose the petitioner fails or refuses to apply for the Decree Absolute. In that case, the respondent can file such an application on their behalf. The process is more complicated in this case, as it requires an application to be filed with the court and a hearing, after which the judge will make a decision.