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How to apply for a divorce

If you have decided that your relationship has come to an end and want to apply for a divorce, we are here to help. In this article, we’ll talk you through your options and explain how you can apply for a divorce.


Can I apply for a divorce online?

Yes, it is perfectly possible to apply for a divorce online by yourself. There are lots of companies offering DIY divorces online or you can apply for a divorce via the government website.

Although it is possible to apply for a divorce without a solicitor, we would always recommend seeking legal advice before beginning the divorce process. This way, you will receive advice tailored to your circumstances, giving you the knowledge you need to ensure the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible. What’s more, seeking legal advice as early on as possible in the process, may make a real difference to the outcome of your financial settlement.


Apply for a divorce with a divorce petition

A divorce petition is the document which officially begins the divorce process. In order to apply for a divorce, you must complete a divorce petition and submit it to the court.

The divorce petition provides the court with information about why you and your spouse have chosen to apply for a divorce.

If you apply for a divorce, you will become the Petitioner and your spouse will become the Respondent.

When you apply for a divorce, you will need to state if you would like to claim the costs of the divorce from your spouse. Your solicitor can explain how this works in more detail.

apply for a divorce


You need to state why your marriage has come to an end when you apply for a divorce

In England and Wales, you will need to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by stating one of five ‘reasons’ or ‘grounds’ when you apply for a divorce:

1. Unreasonable behaviour
2. Adultery
3. Desertion
4. Separation for 2 years (with agreement from your spouse)
5. Separation for 5 years (no consent necessary)

Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason people apply for a divorce. If you wish to rely on unreasonable behaviour when you apply for a divorce, you will need to provide a few examples of this behaviour. Your solicitor can help you to decide what to include on the divorce petition.


Remember to deal with financial matters when you apply for a divorce

It is important that you deal with your finances when you apply for a divorce. Although the financial settlement is dealt with separately to the divorce process itself, it usually runs concurrently with it.

Neglecting to organise the separation of your finances when you apply for a divorce, could mean that one party may be able to make a claim against the other in the future.


Other articles that may be of interest to you?

How long does a divorce take?

What is the divorce process?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

Decree Nisi – What does this mean in a divorce?

What are the first steps to divorce?


Thinking about how to apply for a divorce?

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


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on your divorce

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

Our expert 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

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

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

Please contact us for more details.

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08th December 2020

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