Fernanda Stefani on divorce in England and in Wales..
How to Get a Divorce in England and Wales? In our first article of our “How To” Series, we explain how you can get a divorce in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Family proceedings are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010). Proceedings for divorce or a matrimonial order must be commenced by an application for a matrimonial order, still referred to as a petition. Either of the spouses may commence Divorce Proceedings. Proceedings for divorce must be commenced in the Family Court. The HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has recently announced solicitors are now are able to do online applications for divorce on behalf of their clients. The petitioner must file a Divorce Petition, Marriage Certificate and Court Fee of £550 or a Fee Exemption Certificate. FPR 2010 do not actually specify the contents of the petition, but the form which must be used, Form D8.Once this is done, the Court will within a few days send a copy of the petition to the other spouse together with an Acknowledgement of Service form.Within 7 days, if the Respondent lives in the UK, he should send to the Court the Acknowledgement of Service which accompanied the Divorce Petition confirming details such as where and when he/she received the Divorce Petition, in which country he/she is domiciled and resides, whether he/she intends to defend the Divorce Petition, whether any claim for costs is disputed and whether orders affecting the children are sought.Regardless of whether the Respondent has filed an Acknowledgement of Service, the Respondent must, if he or she intends to defend the Divorce Petition, file a Defence in the form of an Answer. Within days of receiving the Acknowledgement of Service from the Respondent, the Court sends a copy of the Acknowledgement of Service to the Petitioner’s solicitor.If the Respondent is not defending the Divorce Petition, then the Petitioner can apply for a Decree Nisi to be pronounced. The process will then be straight forward.However, if the Divorce Petition becomes defended, a delay in obtaining a divorce will be inevitable.
An undefended divorce takes about 3 to 4 months from the filing of the divorce petition to the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. This may be longer, however, if disputes arise or if it is defended.
When can you apply for a Decree Absolute? You may apply for a Decree Absolute six weeks and 1 day after the date of the Decree Nisi. The Petitioner may apply for the final decree the Decree Absolute by sending the Notice of Application to the Court. This will be processed and may be available as quickly as the next day.Three months after the Petitioner could first have applied for Decree Absolute, the Respondent may apply for the Decree Absolute if the Petitioner has not already done so. The fee to do this is £50.00.If you are going through a divorce and need advice, call us now to book your consultation and obtain legal advice.