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To obtain a divorce in the UK, it is necessary to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Irretrievable breakdown can be established by proving one of the five grounds for divorce. These are :

Divorce Procedure

For most people the divorce procedure is straightforward . Assuming the divorce is not defended (most are not) usually no attendance is required at court and Decree Absolute can be obtained in as little as four to six months  (although if, for example, you do not know where your spouse lives or they refuse to co-operate or if there are financial matters to be resolved then it is likely to take  longer) .

The procedure is as follows:

Divorce Petition - this document is lodged with the court to start the court process. The original marriage certificate also needs to be filed with the court. Where there are children, a document called a statement of arrangements for children must also be filled in and filed with the court.

Acknowledgement of Service - the Respondent will be served with the petition and the other documents by the court. The Respondent should then complete a short form called the acknowledgement of service in which they confirm that they have received the petition and indicate whether they intend to defend the divorce .

Decree Nisi - Assuming the Respondent has filled in the acknowledgment of service indicating that they do not intend to defend the divorce  and sent it back to the  court , the Petitioner can then apply for decree nisi. It will be necessary for the Petitioner to swear a short affidavit confirming the contents of the petition under oath. That affidavit accompanies the application to the court for decree nisi.

Decree nisi is pronounced in open court, although it is not necessary for anybody to attend that hearing.

It is important to be aware  that you are still married after Decree Nisi has been pronounced and cannot yet remarry !

Decree Absolute - the decree absolute is the final decree of divorce and can be applied for by the Petitioner a minimum of six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of decree nisi. If a financial settlement on divorce has not been agreed, the application for decree absolute may be delayed until that financial settlement has been agreed.

Only once Decree Absolute has been pronounced will you be properly divorced and can remarry.

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