Of course there is more to divorce than the law and we’re always happy to refer you to one of our business partners counselling, life-coaching or financial planning specialists to ensure you have the very best advice on all aspects of your relationship breakdown. You might even find that divorce isn’t the right answer for you after all!

If you solved that you need a divorce we  will complete all the paperwork on your behalf, provide advice and guidance at each of the steps and where necessary handle communication with your spouse and the solicitors on the other side of your case.

Divorce isn’t just the end of something; it can also mark the beginning of a new chapter in your life and with us you won’t have to face any of it alone. We’ll be here to guide you through what is often a very difficult time and you can rely on us to provide all support that you’ll need.

Unfortunately the divorce process can be a bit of a minefield – making it extremely important that you get the right advice from the very start. There are so many different issues that can crop up both at the outset or throughout your case such as disagreements about child care, maintenance provisions, pension sharing, selling your home or harassment issues that you really need assistance from someone who has the knowledge and experience to bring all of these different issues together.

It doesn’t matter if you have already received divorce paperwork from your spouse or whether you have only just started to think about taking steps yourself – we can help.


A couple may decide to separate but not immediately feel the need to get a divorce. This does not mean, however that they should not take legal advice and put their separation on a legal footing.

Not doing so can lead to quarrels over household bills, possessions, how best to deal with joint assets and the best arrangements for any children involved. Whilst a couple may part as ‘friends’ initially and feel that they can trust each other, doubts and problems can arise as time passes, circumstances change or new partners come into their lives.

Expatriate divorce. You can find our assistance in this case also. We have a huge experience with the many different problems posed by international cases (Russia and Eastern Europe, countries of former USSR etc.)




How to get a divorce in the UK

To get a UK divorce you must have been married for more than one year. The procedure for obtaining a divorce under the divorce law of England and Wales follows a sequential set of steps with various documents completed and filed at Court. 
Problems tend to arise when documents are completed incorrectly or there is disagreement between the parties involved.

As you will see there is a set legal procedure to follow and many forms to fill in along the way - all of which must be correct in every detail. Whilst this all might sound a bit daunting, don't worry, we're here to guide you from start to finish.

Divorce and separation, any family problems

We have found that our clients often like to know a little bit about the initial stages of a divorce before they come in and see us. So, on this page, we have put together some information about the first step in a divorce; the divorce petition. Don't worry too much about the details though - we can go over everything in your free initial consultation.
We have the professional expertise and practical experience to lead you through the whole process of completing the Petition and all necessary forms in a helpful and practical fashion.

The Divorce Petition

Stage One - Filing the Divorce Petition

This stage is the request to the court to start a divorce. The application contains the details of both parties and the reason for seeking the divorce - which has to be one of the five Grounds for Divorce.

To begin the divorce process you will be required to complete a divorce petition (Form D8) and file it at a local divorce court. If there are children (under 16, or over 16 and still in education) then a Statement of Arrangements for the children needs to be completed (Form D8A). This gives details of the proposed contact and living arrangements for the children after the divorce.

The divorce petition sets out the basic information the court needs to know about your marriage such as the date on which you were legally married, when you last lived together as husband and wife and if you have any children. If you are petitioning on the basis of your spouse's adultery you may also choose whether or not to name the person with whom your husband/wife has had an affair. This person is known as the co-respondent. Incidentally, if it is you applying for the divorce then you will be known as the Petitioner (or Applicant) and your spouse will be referred to as the Respondent. These documents, together with the marriage certificate and a £410.00 Court fee, are sent to the Court to start the divorce process.

Stage Two - Service of the Application

The Court checks the documentation and if they are satisfied that it complies with all the requirements they officially 'issue' the divorce application, and send it to the Respondent (your spouse) and any named co-respondent together with any Statement of Arrangements and a form for the Respondent to complete and return to the Court. This form is known as the Acknowledgement of Service form (Form D10).

After you have filed your divorce petition the court will send you a form entitled 'Notice of Issue of Petition' (Form DH9). This form provides you with your divorce case number and tells you when the petition was sent to the respondent (your husband or wife). It also explains what to do if your spouse does not reply to the court.

Stage Three - Your Spouse's Response

The Respondent is given 8 days to complete and return the documentation to the Court. They will be expected to sign a form known as the Acknowledgement of Service and state whether or not they wish to contest the divorce proceedings. Contested divorces are uncommon, expensive and generally do not achieve a great deal in the long run. A valid reason for contesting a divorce would be if you believed that you had already been divorced in a different jurisdiction.  If the Respondent does wish to contest the divorce then they have to complete and return a form known as the 'Answer' within 28 days of receiving the Petition.

Stage Four - Confirming the Facts in your Application

The Petitioner will receive a copy of the completed Acknowledgement of Service from the Court once it has been returned by the Respondent. The Petitioner will then have to write a statement called the Affidavit  (the legal term for a written statement sworn under oath to be true) confirming that everything they have said in the Petition is true and has not changed. Affidavit confirming the facts in the original Application. This Affidavit, the Acknowledgement of Service and the original Petition need to be sent to the Court so that they can be placed before a Judge.

Stage Five - The Court's Decision & Decree Nisi

If the Court is happy with the documentation and is satisfied that there is no need for the Court to get involved in relation to any children then it will set a date for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.If there is no dispute about the arrangements for the children it is not usually necessary for the parties to attend the short pronouncement Court hearing of the decree nisi (although you may do so if you wish).

Divorce Decree Nisi, Divorce Decree Absolute, Procedure

Stage Six - Application for the Decree Absolute

The petitioner is required to wait for a period of at least six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi before they are allowed to apply to completely dissolve the marriage. This is a legally defined period to allow for any possible reconciliation. To apply for the final decree (Decree Absolute) you are required to complete another application form and to pay another Court fee. The Court will then pronounce your marriage dissolved and send you out a copy of the Decree Absolute (which you should keep in a safe place).
If the Applicant fails to apply for the Decree Absolute the Respondent can apply 3 months later.

Stage Seven - Receipt of the Decree Absolute

Only once the Decree Absolute has been granted and sealed by the Court are the parties officially divorced. This is an important document and it should be kept in a safe place.

Important: this is the legal procedure for obtaining a decree absolute only; obtaining a decree absolute does not end the financial links between you and your spouse. 

Ring, Divorce Petition, Divorce Absolute, Divorce Process

Grounds for Divorce

Not sure whether you or your partner can legally seek a divorce? Well, in England and Wales there is technically only one ground for divorce and that is that 'the marriage has irretrievably broken down'. However, because this is such a wide concept the Courts have provided a list of five facts that can be used to show that the marriage has 'broken down'. If you can provide the Courts with evidence of one of these five facts then you will be entitled to a divorce. There is no need for you to dwell on the details though - leave that to us!

The Reasons of Divorce


To use this fact as the basis of divorce your spouse must have had sexual intercourse with someone else (of the opposite sex) and you must now find it intolerable to continue living with them. If your spouse has had an extra-marital relationship without sexual intercourse - or if it was with someone of the same sex - this legal definition of adultery doesn't apply and unreasonable behaviour is the recommended basis for your divorce.

The use of adultery as the basis of divorce is not as common as most people think. There are further restricting conditions relating to your knowledge of the adultery and, without your spouse admitting to the affair, it is particularly difficult to prove.

Unreasonable Behaviour

This is the most common basis for divorce and is sometimes referred to as the 'catch all'. It can cover a wide range of behaviour and, provided that the divorce petition is correctly drafted, can include the seemingly trivial as well as the most outrageous.  Clients often ask whether using or accepting 'unreasonable behaviour' as the basis of a divorce will adversely affect the financial settlement. In most cases the answer is 'No'.


This is the least used of the five facts because it is technical and difficult to prove. It has become somewhat obsolete following the Courts willingness to accept a spouse's disappearance as an example of unreasonable behaviour.

Two Year Separation

This is the most frequently used basis for divorce when both parties have agreed that their marriage has come to an end but they are in no rush for a divorce. As there is no element of blame, divorces of this kind are common where the parties have remained on good terms. You will need the consent of your spouse to divorce on this basis.

At your free consultation we will be able to discuss with you the Court's interpretation of 'separated' and help you calculate the overall period of your separation. We can also advise you on the real meaning of separated; it is sometimes possible to rely on this fact even if you are both still living under the same roof.

Five Year Separation

This final fact is rarely used as the basis of a divorce petition as most people prefer to get divorced soon after their separation. However it is of great importance to those who have been unable to rely on any of the other facts. You and your spouse must have lived apart for a period of five years prior to the presentation of the divorce petition and there is no need for your spouse's consent. Interestingly, although all divorces can be contested, this is the only fact where there exists a legal defence to divorce. 

 Divorce isn’t just the end of smth it''s the begining of new

Quick Divorce

What if you want to get divorce quickly? It all depends on your circumstances. A so-called 'quickie' divorce is usually possible if the divorce is uncontested (most are these days) - and if there are no children or financial issues, such as pensions, to resolve. Although you can sometimes obtain a Decree Absolute within six months, more often than not it will take much longer when it involves children, money or a contested petition.

We will help you on the likelihood of obtaining a 'quickie' divorce whether it's advisable. Equally importantly, we'll explain the emotional cost of a contested divorce, which involves a public hearing, unlike a 'quickie', which is private from start to finish. 

Separation Agreement, Quick Divorce, Expatriate Divorce Separation

To get a legal separation, you need to fill in a separation petition and send it to the court.
A legal separation allows you to live apart, without divorcing or ending a civil partnership.

You can ask for a legal separation for the same reasons you could file for a divorce, eg:


  • adultery
  • unreasonable behaviour
  • you have religious reasons against divorce
  • you’ve been married less than a year
  • you want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage
However, you don’t need to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
You may want a legal separation if:

  • you have religious reasons against divorce
  • you’ve been married less than a year
  • you want time and space to work out if you want to end the marriage
  •  Government web-site gives you full guidance how to do it yourself.

    If you need some help call us for an appointment. We will assist you.

    Our assistance

    Where one or both parties reside outside the UK, we can represent you to achieve a divorce and a comprehensive financial settlement in Russia and Eastern Europe, countries of former USSR.

    We are experienced in dealing with the many different problems posed by international cases. We are flexible in adjusting our availability for clients who live in different time zones and communicate electronically wherever possible. We also meet clients in venues outside our normal office bases including London by arrangement.


    Call us      01234 854055    07428793410