Step-By-Step Process of Divorce

How to file your own divorce papers?

Going through a divorce it can be very stressful and difficult for everyone involved.

Many points need to be considered before you taking this task upon yourself without the service of the solicitor. For example, child arrangements, property, pensions, finances etc. However, it is possible for you to handle your divorce without the use of a solicitor if both parties are in agreement.

Please follow our basic step by step divorce guide, in order to learn how to file your own divorce papers and, the procedures you will need to take in order to complete the divorce process. 

When can I file my divorce?

By law you are only allowed to divorce once you have been married for one year and have a valid reason otherwise known as a grounds for divorce.

Steps to Filling a Divorce

Step One

Determine what ground you wish to rely on
Examples: Unreasonable behaviour, Desertion, adultery, 2-year separation with consent and 5-year separation. For more information, please revisit step 1

Step Two

Complete the D8 form Divorce petition with the court.
You can find this form easily available at GOV.UK or please refer to Divorce Step 2

Step Three

Apply for a decree Nisi Certificate.

  1. This certificate states that you are entitled to a divorce and will be made final after a mandatory cooling off period of 6 weeks following the making of the decree nisi. This is a legal document that states the court finds no objections to your divorce.
  2. As long as neither you nor your spouse contests the divorce petition, you will then need to fill out an application for a Decree Nisi and a statement of truth.
  3. In the case that either spouse objects to the divorce petition, it will be necessary to attend a hearing. It is then that the court will decide whether or not to proceed and grant a divorce.

This application is dealt by a District Judge of the Family Court who will make sure:

  1. That the forms have been completed correctly.
  2. The Law has been complied with.
  3. The family Proceedings Rules have been complied with.

When the judge is satisfied that all of the above elements have been complied with he/she will grant the decree nisi. If not, the divorce will be refused and directions are given as to what needs to be done in order to satisfy the judge. However, if under the circumstances of unreasonable behavior where the judge can rely on his/her own discretion.

Step Four

Apply for a decree absolute.

Once a Decree Nisi has been granted, you must do the following;

  1. This is the legal document that officially dissolves your marriage. However, you must wait six weeks, until you can apply for a Decree Absolute. The six weeks are provided to ensure that   both parties are still happy to proceed with a divorce.
  2. You must file for a Decree Absolute within a year after the Decree Nisi is granted otherwise, you will have to go through more court proceedings which can on occasion become costly.

Lastly, it is worth noting that additional court fees will be required if there are any mistakes or amendments that need to be made.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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