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Divorce Papers – What do I need to do?

Divorce is the legal process which officially ends a marriage. Divorce papers are an essential part of this process, so understanding which divorce papers to expect and when, is vital if you want to be prepared for what lies ahead.

Divorce papers are the various forms you will have to complete – and the paperwork you will receive – at various stages throughout the divorce process.

You will need to complete divorce papers known as the divorce petition, in order to officially begin the divorce process.


Divorce papers explained: the divorce petition

You will need to complete the divorce petition and file it with the court, in order to legally start the divorce process. The divorce petition is probably one of the divorce papers most people are familiar with, as this is where you will detail why you want to end your marriage.

Either spouse can submit the divorce petition. The person who submits these initial divorce papers is known as the ‘petitioner’ and the other spouse is called ‘the respondent’.

Having an experienced solicitor to help you complete your divorce papers, can help to ensure that there are no mistakes or omissions on your divorce papers, which could cause delays to the process.


Divorce papers explained: the acknowledgement of service

Once your divorce papers have been checked by the court, your spouse will be sent divorce papers known as an ‘acknowledgement of service’. This is a form which your spouse will need to complete in order to respond to your application for divorce.

In these divorce papers, your spouse must state whether they agree with the divorce and whether they want to defend (prevent) the divorce. Your spouse will also have to say whether they object to paying the costs (if you asked them to on the divorce petition). They have 8 days to complete these divorce papers.

divorce papers


Divorce papers: what happens next?

If your spouse agrees with the divorce, you can then move on to the next stage of the divorce process. If not, your spouse will have to complete more divorce papers known as an ‘answer to divorce’ form. They have 28 days to do this, otherwise you can continue to the next part of the process.

If they do complete the ‘answer to divorce’ papers within the required timescale, you may have to go to court.


Divorce papers: the decree nisi

Once all of your other divorce papers are in order (as described above), the court will give you a date for the pronouncement of your decree nisi.


Divorce papers: the decree absolute

You can apply for the decree absolute at least 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of your decree nisi pronouncement. The decree absolute will legally bring your marriage to an end.


How to complete divorce papers

While you can complete divorce papers yourself, we would highly recommend seeking legal advice from a specialist solicitor, such as Austin Kemp. This way, you can ensure that your divorce papers are completed correctly and there are no errors which could cause unnecessary hold ups.


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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09th December 2020

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