Consulting a family law solicitor in contested and uncontested divorces

10th March 2015 by


If a divorce petition is contested, the advice of a family law solicitor in London, Brighton or elsewhere in the UK is likely to be essential for the timely completion of all necessary steps in the proceedings and to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of the arrangements for any children of the marriage and for agreeing a divorce financial settlement.

Progression in uncontested divorce

In an uncontested divorce, where the respondent has agreed to the conditions under which the marriage will be dissolved, it may still be wise to seek the advice of a family law lawyer, especially if there are any large assets to be divided in the financial settlement, such as property, pensions or businesses.

However, once the court receives the application for directions for trial (form D84) and an affidavit of evidence (form D80) from the petitioner the papers will be put before a family law court judge who will decide whether a divorce should be granted.

At this time, the judge will also consider the arrangements for children of the marriage, if there are any, by looking at form D8A, and form D10, the respondent’s acknowledgement of service.

If the judge feels that a divorce can be granted, the court will send out form D84A to the petitioner and the respondent. This is a certificate of entitlement to a decree and it tells the parties to the divorce where and when the judge will grant the divorce (pronounce the decree nisi). There is no requirement for either party, or their divorce solicitor, to attend the pronouncement.

Form D84A will be accompanied by D84B, a notice of satisfaction with arrangements for the children. If there are no children of the marriage, this form will confirm that fact.

The decree nisi will be sent to both parties on the stipulated date; however, this initial decree does not give parties the right to remarry. Only when the subsequent decree is granted, the decree absolute, are the divorced parties free to wed again.

When the judge will not grant a divorce

If the family law judge feels he cannot grant a divorce under English and Welsh law the court will send out a Notice of Refusal (form D79). This form will explain why the judge feels the case is not in order.

In most cases the refusal will be because the judge feels more information is needed, but it may be wise, at this point, to consult a divorce lawyer to ensure all further proceedings run as smoothly as possible.

In some cases the judge will request a court hearing to decide the divorce. This is known as removing the case from the special procedure list and entering it into the undefended list.

Family law solicitors in London and Brighton for undefended divorces

If your divorce has been put on the undefended list you should contact a family law solicitor as soon as possible. You will be required to appear in court to explain certain factors about the marriage and divorce, and an experienced solicitor will be able to help you mount the strongest possible case in favour of you being granted a marriage dissolution.

Healys’ family law solicitors in London and Brighton are highly experienced in all aspects of family law and, as we are part of a full service legal firm, we have the benefit of being able to draw on the wide-ranging knowledge and legal skills of our colleagues in other departments who can offer help and advice on the manifold and complex issues arising out of family breakdown.

To discuss your divorce with one of our divorce solicitors in Brighton please call direct to Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or e-mail on