Getting divorced – Start at the beginning

7th March 2015 by


A couple may get divorced only once they have been married for a year. Unfortunately, there are no circumstances which change this – even the occurrence of domestic violence. However, family lawyers can help victims of domestic abuse seek protection through the law in the form of injunctions and non-molestation orders.

To find out more about how Healys LLP can help you if you are suffering domestic violence, please click here.

Couples seeking divorce will need to prove to the court that their marriage is recognised by UK family law and their relationship has broken down irretrievably. To seek a divorce in an English or Welsh court, the couple must be living permanently in England or Wales.

There are three main steps in getting a marriage dissolved. These are:

  1. The divorce petition – one spouse (the petitioner) must apply to the most relevant court (relevant jurisdiction) for permission to divorce. The divorce petition will include the reasons why the spouse wishes to dissolve the marriage (grounds for divorce). If there are children, the petition must include details of arrangements for their care and financial support.
  2. The decree nisi – this can be applied for once the other spouse (the respondent) agrees to the petition. The court will issue a document which states that there is no reason the couple cannot be divorced.
  3. The decree absolute – after a set amount of time, the petitioner can apply for a decree absolute which will formally end the marriage and the spouses’ legal obligations to each other. Once granted, the spouses are then free to remarry.

A marriage can be dissolved before a financial settlement claim is finalised, as long as the respondent agrees to the divorce and the court is satisfied that children will be looked after, the divorce can go ahead without a full financial claim being heard.

Divorce solicitors and the divorce petition

The respondent does not have to have instructed a divorce solicitor in order to file a divorce petition. In fact, some couples may be able to complete their divorce wholly without legal advice, but they must agree on why they want a divorce, arrangements for the children and how money and property will be divided.

However, Healys divorce solicitors in London and Brighton always advise that spouses seek legal help when mounting a financial claim or negotiating a financial agreement, because once the court agrees the details of a settlement it may be very hard, or even impossible, to alter the terms at a later date.

Our divorce solicitors are experienced in bringing and defending financial claims by mutual negotiation or through the courts. We help clients ensure their best interests are maintained in any financial settlement.

If you need help filling in a divorce petition or would like advice a divorce financial settlement claims, then please call our family law teams in either our London or Brighton offices. We look forward to helping you.