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An Overview Of The Divorce Process

As divorce lawyers, we have put together a simplified overview of the divorce process to help you understand the different stages. Please contact Parsonage & Co for more information.

• Either party makes an application (petition) - the petitioner

• The other party is called the respondent

• In adultery petitions, other parties are known as co-respondents

Applying For A Divorce

This has to establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down in one of five ways.


• Adultery by the respondent

• Unreasonable behaviour on the part of the respondent

• Separation for 2 years (both parties consent)

• Separation for 5 years (without consent)

• Desertion by the respondent for 7 years

The Petition

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The following documents are served on the respondent:


• The petition

• Notice of proceedings

• Acknowledgement of service

• Acknowledgement by the respondent indicates

• Whether there is an intention to defend

• Whether they agree to pay costs


If the respondent disagrees an answer is required and the court will consider each issue separately and the matter becomes a contested court issue.


If the Respondent agrees a statement is sent to the court by the Petitioner affirming the accuracy of the Petition. A district judge will consider entitlement to a decree - if accepted then a date is fixed for pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.


After 6 weeks and a day of the date of the Decree Nisi, the petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute. The respondent can apply up to 3 months after the 6 weeks has expired but must do so by court application.

Service On The Respondent

A pair of rings and a definition of the word divorce A Marriage Dissolution form being filled in A close up of a man writing with a fountain pen. A ring is on the table Paperwork and a pen

For guidance with legal terminology, please consult our glossary. Parsonage & Co is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom under practice number 407095.