If you believe your marriage has come to an end, whether or not to start divorce proceedings will be a significant decision. You may have questions about whether it is appropriate for you and your spouse to separate or if a more formal divorce process would be better for you. If you separate but remain married, you will still be legally tied to your spouse as husband and wife and will stayed financially tied to one another.

To be able to start divorce proceedings you need to have been married for a period of one year. You will need to decide upon the legal reason for the divorce. The law currently gives five possible reasons and we can help you decide what would be the simplest and most appropriate for your circumstances.

A divorce begins with a divorce petition (or application). This gives the court basic information about the marriage, and sets out the reason for the divorce. This petition is then served on the other party (who will be known as the respondent). Once it has been established that the respondent has been served with the divorce papers, it is possible to apply for decree nisi. This is the first divorce decree and, whilst you still remain married after decree nisi is pronounced, this signifies that all requirements for a divorce have been satisfied.

The original petitioner can apply to finalise the divorce by applying for decree absolute six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of decree nisi. The pronouncement of decree absolute brings a legal end to the marriage. It is important to understand that the divorce itself does not sever the financial ties and obligations that spouses have to one another.
At present it is possible to use an online portal or a more traditional paper process in order to obtain a divorce. It is anticipated that more and more divorces will be dealt with via the online portal in future.