How to apply for a divorce and what is involved – top 5 questions answered.

Wanting to get divorced, but need help in how to start the application?

Following on from our recent post providing guidance on the when and why you can apply,  please read today’s guidance on how to apply for a divorce.

When petitioning for divorce several documents are required.

Apply for a divorce in Chichester

The first being the petition itself which sets out the circumstances of the marriage and the reason for its breakdown and specifies on which fact the Petitioner intends to rely.

The petition will also include claims for financial relief (meaning when a court considers the resolution of financial issues arising from the divorce) which can be pursued by the Petitioner at a later date.

All forms of financial relief will be left in the petition to keep the Petitioner’s options open.

In order to prepare the petition you will also need to supply the original of your marriage certificate, which will be sent to the Court with the paperwork.

You should be aware that the marriage certificate is retained by the Court and we usually suggest you keep a copy before providing it to us.

Until recently, parties were also required to file a statement of arrangements regarding any children.  This document has recently been dispensed with.

The paperwork will be prepared by us and sent to the Court who will then forward a copy to your spouse.

The paperwork will be prepared by us and sent to the Court who will then forward a copy to your spouse.

Your spouse will then be asked to complete a form known as an acknowledgement of service in which they will be asked to indicate whether or not they intend to defend.

If your spouse then returns the acknowledgement of service to the Court indicating that they do not intend to defend the proceedings, the Court will send us a copy of this document and we will then prepare a statement.

This is a legal document in which you will be asked to confirm the contents of your Petition and identify your spouse’s signature on the acknowledgement of service.

This will be signed subject to a “statement of truth” and then be submitted to the District Judge who will then consider whether you are entitled to a divorce.

If he or she is satisfied then they will ask the Court to list your case for the pronouncement of your Decree Nisi, unless a good reason not to grant your divorce is produced.

You will not be required to attend at Court for the pronouncement of your Decree Nisi.

The Decree Absolute

the final step which legally dissolves the marriage, will be available six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

Common questions

Can I start divorce proceedings while we still live in the same house?

Yes, subject to certain specific rules regarding attempted reconciliations and residing in the same property.

Can I start divorce proceedings on my own adultery?

No, you can only petition on the basis of the other party’s adultery.

Do I need to name a Co-Respondent to that adultery?

Not unless you wish to do so.  Indeed we actively encourage parties not to name a co-respondent.

Will there be any Court hearings if the proceedings are undefended?

No, the divorce will proceed on the paperwork alone.

Does it matter who divorces whom and on what basis, for the purposes of financial or children matters?

No. Generally speaking the reason for the divorce is not relevant for the purposes of either financial or children matters.

How long will the divorce take?

Generally the divorce will take up to four months, although this may depend on the progress of financial matters.

We hope  that you  have found this post useful, but if you require any further information on this subject or the fees we charge, including fixed fees, please do not hesitate in contacting Sara Fildes via email on or call her on 01243 790532.