Filing a divorce can be complicating to understand and the process can seem gruelling. But our divorce lawyers have decided to craft a straightforward guide for you, explaining the process and answering key questions.

How Do I Start A Divorce?

Before you even begin filling out the papers, make sure you’ve checked off these important factors.

  1. You must have been married for 12 months.
  2. Your permanent home must be England or Wales.
  3. You must have a valid ground for divorce.

What are valid grounds for divorce?

Before you think of divorce, it’s important to understand why it is that you want to divorce your partner. Here are the valid grounds which can be used.

  • Adultery – your husband or wife has had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex. If you have found out and have been living with your partner for 6 months or more then you cannot use this as a reason.
  • Unreasonable behaviour – This could include physical violence, on-going arguments, drunkenness or drug-taking and any other form of behaviour that up-sets someone on a consistent basis.
  • Desertion – Lived apart from each other for more than 2 years without a good reasons and agreement.
  • Lived apart for more than 2 years and both partners agree.
  • Lived apart for at least 5 years, both partners do not have to agree.

For any recent changes in grounds for getting a divorce, please visit



Divorce Process (legal process): 4-6 months

  1. Petition: One person decides on the divorce based on reasonable grounds. They will fill in a D8 form, containing personal information about themselves, their partners and a copy of their marriage certificate. You must pay a fee of £550 to start the divorce.
  2. Acknowledgement of Service: The spouse (respondent) will receive their copy of the D 8 and agree (undefended divorce) to getting divorced. If they decline (contesting), this is known as a defended divorce.
  3. Decree Nisi: The court issues a decree if they agree with the reasons for the divorce. Now you must wait six weeks to apply for a decree absolute, to officially be divorced.
  4. Decree Absolute:  After six weeks you can apply for the decree to be final, bringing the marriage to an end.

Problems you may experience:

  • Financial split: There can be a disagreement on the financial split which both people will receive. Claims regarding finance are still ‘live’ even in a separation agreement, only until a settlement is dealt with by a court order. Ward & Rider are here to solve these disagreements and keep your best interest to protecting your finances, read more about our financial settlements.
  • Financial pressure, paying for the divorce: Here at Ward & Rider we will give you a clear estimate of costs and use efficient working practices to reduce the cost and fit your budget.
  • Parental responsibility: The mother has automatic parental responsibility for children. You can read how fathers can obtain parental responsibility here.

At Ward & Rider we offer a FREE initial consultation; our expert divorce lawyers are here on hand to meet your needs.