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How To Commence Divorce Proceedings

27 October 2021

Sharon McKie

divorce lawyers

When your marriage has irretrievably broken down and divorce is imminent, it can be an emotionally draining period. Currently, in the UK, there are certain criteria you must meet to be successful in applying for a divorce and having one granted. The process of divorce and separation is generally smooth. However, matters can turn contentious when partners disagree on the arrangements for children and financial issues. If you need help acquiring a divorce, there are family solicitors who can assist.

Here at Taylor Bracewell, our divorce solicitors in Doncaster and Sheffield will work to make the process as easy as possible, and are mindful of the stress and emotional toll the proceedings may be taking on you. How you choose to conduct yourself and deal with the divorce can determine the results; our solicitors are on hand to provide expert guidance and implement dispute resolution to find a solution that suits both you and your spouse. To discover more about filing for divorce, please read our helpful guide below.


Grounds for Divorce

If you believe that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, before you apply for divorce, you must ensure that:

  • you have been married for one year or more
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK
  • the requirements as to where both parties live are met 

There are currently five grounds for divorce in the UK, and when filing for a separation from your partner, you must state one reason for doing so. These grounds include:

  • Adultery 
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion (your partner left you at least two years before you filed for divorce)
  • You've been separated for at least two or five years

If you separated amicably, having to place blame and choose your reason for divorce can make matters contentious, as your spouse may disagree with the reasons you gave. Couples can agree to sort child arrangements and maintenance arrangements between them, or you can use a mediator to help you sort out your differences in a way that suits you both. Here at Taylor Bracewell, we can help you arrange all matters with your ex-spouse, ensuring your divorce is as smooth as possible. To find out more about the services our family lawyers provide, please visit us here.


Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute

You can apply for a divorce online, after providing your spouse's name and address and your marriage certificate. Once the divorce has been acknowledged, you can then apply for a decree nisi. However, if your spouse defends the divorce, you may have to enter court proceedings. A decree nisi confirms that the court has agreed that you are entitled to be granted a divorce. Alongside your application, you must submit a statement, confirming the information is correct in your divorce application and dealing with the Acknowledgement provided by your spouse.  

You will then have to wait 43 days before you can apply for a decree absolute, a document that formally ends your marriage. Before applying, the court will check that all time limits have been met and that there are no other reasons not to grant the divorce. If you have consulted with a solicitor, the decree absolute will be sent to them. Once it has been received, you are no longer married and are free to marry again. However, it may be detrimental to do so before financial matters have been resolved. You may also be advised not to apply for the decree absolute until such matters have been finalised. 


When Can I Obtain a 'Blameless' Divorce?

If you simply fall out of love with your partner and you separate amicably, you will still need to choose one of the previous reasons for divorcing. This can turn even the friendliest of divorces sour. However, in April 2022, couples will finally be able to separate without placing blame upon either party, leading to lessened conflict and a more amicable separation. This is the most significant change to divorce procedure in the last 50 years. 

Here at Taylor Bracewell, our highly experienced family lawyers and divorce solicitors in Doncaster and Sheffield are here to support you through every step of your divorce proceedings, providing expert advice and dispute resolution to help you  achieve the best possible outcome. To find out more about our family law solicitors, or to book a consultation, please fill out our online form here.