Fact Sheet - Divorce Proceedings
Q I am considering a divorce. What are the grounds for me to be able to do so?
A In every case, a person has to prove that their marriage has irretrievably broken down through one of five facts. These are that their spouse has behaved unreasonably or committed adultery; that they have lived apart for a period of two years and the other agrees to the divorce or that they have been deserted for two years or separated for five years. For the last two facts the other spouse’s consent is not needed.
Q What do I need to do?
A The person seeking a divorce sends a Divorce Petition to their local County Court relying on one of the above five facts. There is a Court fee to pay. The Petition is then posted to your spouse with an Acknowledgment of Service form that they need to complete and return to the Court.
Q My spouse won’t sign the Acknowledgment form. What next?
A It might be necessary to serve them personally to prove they have had the Divorce Petition or apply to the Court for some other form of service, such as advertising in a local newspaper if their whereabouts are unknown.
Q Once the form is returned what happens next?
A You will need to send a Statement to the Court confirming everything in the Divorce Petition is true. This will then be considered by a District Judge, who when satisfied that the grounds for the divorce are proven, will provide a date for the pronouncement of the penultimate divorce order, called the Decree Nisi.
Q How do I finalise my divorce?
A Six weeks after the Decree Nisi, you can apply for the final order, which is called the Decree Absolute. There is a Court fee to pay and once granted you will be divorced.
Q How long will this all take?
A If your spouse co-operates and returns the Acknowledgment form, it generally takes between five to six months.
Q Should I delay the Decree Absolute if there is no financial settlement in place?
A In some cases, it might be necessary to do so if, for instance, there is a pension that still needs to be divided.
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