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How to start divorce proceedings?

How to start divorce proceedings may the first thing you think of when a marriage comes to an end, as emotions run high. Anxiety about what lies ahead and concerns about the divorce process itself, can leave many people wondering where to begin. Stories in the news surrounding celebrity divorces taking many months, can make the whole process seem a little overwhelming, to say the least.

Understanding how to start divorce proceedings, so that you and your other half can begin to plan your respective futures, can help to put your mind at rest and provide you with the knowledge you need to take action.


Communication is key

After seeing a solicitor, a letter regarding the divorce will be sent from the solicitor to the other party, usually including details of the divorce (such as grounds for the divorce) and saying that the solicitor is acting on behalf of their client for the divorce.

If possible, it is always preferable to keep things amicable during the divorce process. Having communication lines open, can enable any issues to be discussed and sorted out at a much faster pace than if two spouses are not talking to each other.

With this in mind, it is usually (but not always) a good idea to inform your spouse  that you will be seeking a divorce, so that it doesn’t come as a shock when they receive a letter from your solicitor in the post.

Note, that informing your spouse regarding your intent to seek a divorce is not always advisable, particularly if there is an international element to your divorce, where it could make a difference who files for divorce first and where they do this. Speak to your solicitor for more information regarding this.

how to start divorce proceedings


The divorce petition

The divorce petition is the paperwork that must be completed in order to get a divorce. The person who completes the petition is known as the petitioner (the other party will be the respondent).

Once completed, this petition is then filed with the family court. A copy of the marriage certificate is also required, as is a court fee of £550 (correct at the time of writing).

Sometimes, a solicitor may send a draft copy of the petition to the respondent before filing it , in order to avoid unnecessary delays after the petition has been filed.


Divorce proceedings have now begun…

Once a petition has been filed with the family court, divorce proceedings have now officially started.

The next major points in the process are the decree nisi and the decree absolute. You are not legally divorced until you have the decree absolute.

It is important to remember that the divorce process itself does not include the financial side of things or child arrangements. These need to be dealt with separately.

Before starting divorce proceedings, it is a good idea to seek independent legal advice, so that you fully understand the process that lies ahead.


Do you need help with how to start divorce proceedings?

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on how to start divorce proceedings

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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12th March 2018

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