Divorce or dissolving your civil partnership
You can apply for a divorce if you want to end your marriage. You may also terminate your civil partnership by submitting an application. Both procedures are followed in the same manner.
You don’t have to provide a reason for getting divorced or dissolved. This is known as “no fault.”
In order to obtain a divorce or dissolution, you must have been married or in a civil partnership for at least one year. You may learn how to part ways with your spouse if it’s been less than one year since you got married.
Only one application is required between you and your spouse. You may submit the form from anywhere: solo or together with your partner.
If you’re a respondent in a divorce or dissolution paperwork and wish to challenge it, you should first consult with a solicitor. On GOV.UK, you may learn how to respond to a divorce or separation application.
If you have concerns about your partner’s aggressiveness, you should contact an advocate.
If your spouse makes you feel nervous or unsafe, you should seek assistance.
At all times, you can reach Refuge or Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.
If you’re a guy who’s been assaulted by your partner, you can call Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you’re stumped for ideas, speak with a professional.
Before you start, be sure to read these instructions thoroughly.
You should try to reach an understanding with your spouse:
- From the above, it’s clear that how you allocate your funds depends on your personal circumstances.
- What happens to your house
- where any children you share with your partner will live
If you haven’t agreed on what to do with your money, your home, or your children, you can still apply for a divorce or dissolution.
If you’re not sure you want a divorce or dissolution, you can find relationship counseling services on the NHS website.
Before you start, be sure to read these instructions thoroughly.
You should try to reach an understanding with your spouse:
- What should you and your spouse decide about how to split any money you make?
- What will happen to your house if you and your partner have children? Wherever any of your children with your spouse would reside
Even if you haven’t worked out what to do with your money, your house, or your children, you may still apply for a divorce or dissolution.
If you’re not sure whether or how you want to end your marriage, the NHS provides help with relationship counseling.
If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom with a visa to live in the country
If you get married or divorced while on your partner’s visa, you will lose your visa when the relationship is over.
If your visa has run out, you could need to renew it. If you don’t have a visa, you’ll either be kicked out of the country or forced to leave. You can learn how to stay in the UK on a spouse visa if you have no partner.
How long does a divorce or dissolution take?
Even if your circumstances are simple, a divorce or split may take more than a year to complete. It might take longer if you have to resolve financial, property, or child concerns. These issues will be addressed separately from your divorce or break-up.
How are you going to pay the expenses?
When you file for a divorce or dissolution, you must pay the court fee of £593. If you use a solicitor, you may also incur various fees.
For example, you may split the court cost with your spouse.
If you’re splitting the cost with your spouse but will make the application yourself, get payment from your spouse before paying the fee.
Check if you qualify for assistance with the court charge.
If you can’t pay the court fee, you may be able to obtain assistance. You might get assistance, for example, if you receive payments or have a low income.
Before you file for a divorce or dissolution, you should apply for court fee assistance.
If only one of you is eligible for help, it’s preferable that you submit a single divorce or dissolution application. You can only receive reduced court fees if both of you qualify if you file a joint application with your spouse.
On GOV.UK, you may find out whether you qualify for government assistance in paying your court fee.
Deciding whether you require the assistance of a solicitor
Before you take any action, you should contact an attorney.
A solicitor’s role will:
- speak with your spouse and their lawyer so you don’t have to.
- represent you in court – that is, they’ll speak for you so you don’t have to.
- get the greatest possible outcome,
Make certain that your solicitor specializes in divorce or dissolution. You may need to search outside of your region.
On the Resolution website, you may locate a solicitor.
You may also search for free or low-cost legal assistance online.
Examine who is responsible for the divorce or dissolution costs.
It’s important to try and reach a consensus on who will pay the divorce or dissolution costs. You might divide up the expenses yourself. It’s preferable to work out this ahead of time before beginning your divorce or dissolution application.
If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, you can ask the court for a decision. You’ll need to fill out this form separately from your divorce or dissolution, and there will be an additional charge.
Unless they make the divorce or dissolution procedure more difficult, it’s unlikely the court will order your partner to pay costs. You should speak with an attorney first. Find out what resources are available for obtaining free or low-cost legal assistance.
What to Do If Your Marriage Is Over or if you need to terminate your civil partnership
To terminate your civil partnership or divorce your spouse, you’ll need to:
- Choose who should apply.
- Get all of the information and paperwork you’ll need.
- Fill out the application.
- Examine how your spouse will be informed regarding the application.
- Find out how your spouse may respond
- Make a pre-order on the condition that you check first.
- Ask for a final order to seal the divorce or dissolution.
1. Decide who should apply
You have the option of obtaining a divorce or dissolution on your own or with your spouse. A sole application is filed if you go through it alone. If you do it with your partner, it’s called a joint application.
You should only submit a joint application if you’re confident that you’ll be able to compromise with your spouse throughout the whole divorce or dissolution process. You may convert to a sole application later, but the earliest time this is possible is 20 weeks after submitting an initial joint application.
If you apply on your own, you’ll be referred to as the “applicant,” whereas your partner will be known as the “respondent.”
If you submit an application with your spouse, one of you will be labeled ‘applicant 1′ and the other ‘applicant 2.’
If you want to be applicant one, you’ll fill out the application and pay the court fee. Your spouse will be able to examine the application before it is sent, but you must collect their portion of the cost from them yourself.
2. Get all of the information and paperwork you’ll need.
You’ll need your marriage or civil partnership certificate to complete the necessary information on the divorce or dissolution form, such as the date of your wedding. If you make a mistake, this application will be sent back.
On GOV.UK, you may order and pay for a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
Got married or registered your relationship in another country, keep reading.
You’ll still need to submit your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
If you don’t have the certificate any longer, you’ll need to contact the government of the nation where your marriage or civil partnership took place to obtain a certified copy. GOV.UK has instructions on how to reach foreign embassies in the United Kingdom.
If the certificate isn’t in English, you’ll need to have it translated. You should request that the translator include a “statement of truth” – they’ll sign this to verify the translation is correct. For translators, look online.
If the translator fails to provide a statement of truth, you’ll need to have the translation notarized by a “notary public.” A qualified lawyer is called a “notary public” who can verify that legal papers are accurate. The Notaries Society website may help you locate a local notary public.
You’ll be charged fees to receive a copy of your certificate, and have it translated and certified.
Obtaining your spouse’s information
You must provide your partner’s name, home address, and email address. It’s better to use a personal email address rather than a business or employment one.
If your partner has a solicitor, find out who they are and where they can be reached.
You can discover how to divorce or terminate a civil partnership with someone you can’t find on GOV.UK if you don’t know where your partner resides.
If you’ve recently taken on a new identity, there are a few things to remember.
If your name differs from your marriage or civil partnership certificate, you must explain why on your application.
If you changed your name by deed poll and need to submit your deed poll document with your application, you may be required to do so.
3. Fill out the application
You can file for divorce or dissolution online or by post.
When you fill out the application, pay close attention to the instructions and make sure you do it correctly. There are a few things you should look for.
If you’re concerned about your spouse finding out where you live
You can ask the court not to disclose your address to your spouse. On the application, there’s a question regarding this; make sure you check the box indicating that you don’t want your address revealed.
If your spouse makes you feel anxious or unsafe, it’s time to seek assistance.
At any time, you can contact Refuge or Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.
If you’re a guy who has been assaulted by your partner, you can phone Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).
If you’re an LGBT+ person who’s been subjected to domestic abuse, you can contact the Galop National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428 between 10am and 5pm Monday through Friday, as well as 10am and 8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If you’re stumped for ideas, get advice from a professional.
When it comes to the question, “Are you applying for a monetary order?” you should check yes. This is where the court decides what will happen to your and your partner’s money.
If you have children, check the box indicating that you want to create a financial order for them. Even if you don’t have any money or have already resolved things with your spouse, you should select “yes.” It may be crucial later on to make legal agreements or reject any future claims from your partner.
Ticking the financial order box does not begin the application process for a financial order, but it allows you to do so in the future. If you check “no” and remarry or form another civil partnership, you will almost certainly be unable to seek a financial order.
For online application
It’s easier to get a divorce or dissolution online. If you hire a lawyer, he or she will take care of it for you.
- GOV.UK allows you to apply for a divorce online.
- On GOV.UK, you can apply for a divorce online.
If you can’t apply online, you may submit an application by mail. GOV.UK has a list of paper divorce and dissolution forms.
You should submit your form to one of the addresses on the last page, which is determined by how you intend to pay the court fee.
Include your marriage license, either the actual or a certified copy.
4. Examine how your spouse will be informed regarding the application.
The court will generally send a copy of the divorce or dissolution petition to your spouse – this is sometimes known as ‘delivering divorce or separation papers.’
If the court serves you papers, they’ll email a link to your partner so they can view them online. They’ll also send you and your spouse a notification letter by mail.
If you’ve filed for a divorce or separation by paper form, or haven’t assigned an email address to your spouse, the papers will be published.
If you’ve made a joint application with your spouse, you’ll both receive an email acknowledging the submission and stating what will happen next.
Check to see whether you’ll have to serve any papers yourself.
Only serve papers on your partner if you’ve made a single application and either:
- If your spouse does not reside in the United Kingdom
- If you’ve requested to deliver the papers yourself,
- The court has attempted to serve the papers twice but has yet to succeed.
If the court can’t serve you with your divorce papers the first time, you may provide them a new email or address for your spouse when they try again.
Within 28 days of the divorce or dissolution application, you must serve the papers. If you have any questions about how to serve the documents, contact an expert.
5. Find out how your spouse may respond
If you’ve only submitted one form, your partner will have to notify the court that they received your divorce or dissolution application and whether they accept or reject it. They’ll need to refute the divorce or dissolution if they disagree.
In the end, you’ll receive a letter or email telling you what to do next. They must respond within 14 days of receiving this notice.
Your spouse can only challenge the dissolution for one of the following reasons:
- There was a discrepancy at the beginning of your marriage or civil partnership.
- They believe the relationship has already been ended via divorce or dissolution, thus they don’t think it is necessary to move ahead with their divorce.
- They think that because they don’t believe the court has authority to handle their divorce or dissolution, it’s known as “not having jurisdiction.”
If your spouse does not respond to the application
What you can do in certain situations depends on your circumstances.
If you know where your spouse resides, you may submit a request for a court bailiff to carry out the application for a fee – see GOV.UK for the form of service by a court bailiff.
If you have evidence that your spouse has received the application, you may ask the court to continue as if he or she had. This is known as “deemed service” – you can obtain a form for it on GOV.UK.
If you can’t find your partner, you can ask the court to go ahead with the divorce process without a response from your spouse if they are unable to be located. On GOV.UK, you may discover what to do if your partner is missing.
If you’re not sure what to do, seek legal assistance first. You can learn more about how to locate free or low-cost legal aid in this article.
6. Make a pre-order on the condition that you check first.
A conditional order may be granted 20 weeks after you filed your divorce or dissolution. This is when the court will determine whether your divorce or dissolution can proceed.
You can’t do it sooner than 20 weeks because you and your partner need time to make up your minds.
By email or post, the court will notify you when you can submit an application for a restricted order. This is determined by how you originally requested your divorce or dissolution.
Changing from a joint to a one-application system
If you and your spouse want to terminate the joint application you’ve been making, either of you may request that it be converted to a solo application when pursuing a conditional order.
The applicant will be the individual who takes over the application, and the respondent will be the beneficiary.
If you’re the one converting a joint to a sole application, you’ll need to send your partner a copy of the conditional order application.
7. Ask for a final order to seal the divorce or dissolution.
You can seek a final order after six weeks and one day if a conditional order is made. This will terminate your marriage or civil partnership permanently.
If the court accepts your application, it will issue you an order to notify you when you can file for a final judgment. This is determined by how you first submitted for your divorce or dissolution.
If you haven’t come to an agreement on your finances, pensions, or property
The final order may have an impact on how your money and property are shared between you and your spouse.
If you’re the only applicant, consult an attorney before submitting your application for the final order.
If you’re the responder or a joint applicant, get legal assistance as soon as possible. You won’t be able to prevent your partner from submitting an application for the final order, but you might be able to ask the court to postpone it. You can learn how to locate free or low-cost legal advice.
Final order Application
You must file for a final order within a year after the court grants you permission. If you’re making an application more than 12 months after your divorce, you’ll need to explain why it took so long. You may have been dealing with your finances, for example.
If you applied as a married couple, either you or your spouse can apply for the last order. If you made a single application, you’ll almost always need to reapply for the final order. A partner may only apply for a judgment 3 months after the court told him or her that they could do so.
When you request a final order, you may also switch from a joint to a sole application. To do so, fill out form D36A and notify your partner 14 days in advance that you’ll apply for the final order on your own. Form D36A may be found on GOV.UK.
Demonstrating that your marriage or civil partnership has come to an end is necessary.
If you need to demonstrate that you’re divorced or your civil partnership has expired, be sure to bring your final order.
If you’re divorced and your divorce paperwork was filed before April 6, 2022, the final order will be known as a “decree absolute,” rather than “decree nisi.”
If you’ve misplaced your original papers, you can acquire a copy of a decree absolute or final order from GOV.UK.
Find out more about a final order in a divorce