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How to Apply for a Divorce

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Filing for divorce is a tough decision for many couples and the last thing people think about when entering a happy marriage. However, regardless of how things were in the beginning, any relationship can slowly start to break down due to a number of reasons. 

Divorce is a personal decision and something that should be carefully considered before starting the process. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the situation, and you’re likely feeling confused about what to do next. The divorce process is never easy, but it’s easier with the right team of family lawyers by your side. 

What’s the process for divorce applications?

If you’re thinking about divorce, it’s important to note that you must have been married for at least one year before you can start the process. To fill out the application form, you’ll need your marriage certificate, as well as the full names, addresses and emails of both you and your partner. 

Before you apply, you should both try to agree on how you will divide your assets. If you’re struggling to come to an agreement and have tried mediation, you’ll need to apply to the courts for a financial order

Filing a divorce application

There are four stages in the divorce application process:

  1. Complete a divorce application as a sole applicate or as joint applicants, with your partner
  2. Submit your application to a divorce centre online or by post
  3. Apply for a conditional order (this usually happens once your spouse has acknowledged the application and following a 20-week cooling off period)
  4. Apply for a final order (six weeks and one day after you’ve received the conditional order)

Receiving the application

If you’re the one that has solely filed for divorce, your partner will receive a copy of your application, in which they can decide whether they accept or want to dispute. Or, perhaps you’re on the receiving end and are feeling emotional and overwhelmed that the process is now underway.

If this is the case, we recommend speaking to a family lawyer to seek legal advice on next steps. They can help you deal with the complexities of divorce and what it means for you and your family, from splitting financial assets to child custody and maintenance. 

If you and your spouse made a joint application, you’ll both receive an email telling you that the court has received the application and what will happen next.

Conditional and final orders

Conditional orders can be applied for once your spouse has received a copy of your divorce application and has completed an Acknowledgement of Service form. While a conditional order does not bring your marriage to an end, it does mean that the court sees no reason why you and your partner cannot divorce.

Once the conditional order has been pronounced, you can apply to have your final order granted. This is a formal court document that legally and permanently ends your marriage. You must apply for a final order within 12 month’s receipt of your conditional order, and failure to do so will result in you having to explain the delay to the court. 

How long does divorce take?

While the timeframe for each divorce application is dependent on individual circumstances, the process typically takes around six to eight months to complete, provided both parties do everything required at their earliest convenience. Naturally, delays and disagreements from either side can prolong the duration of your divorce.

If you’re currently going through a divorce, it’s so important to receive the right support throughout the entire process. By starting your online divorce today, you’ll be looked after by a team of expert family solicitors, who will be on hand to guide you through your divorce with professionalism and care.




Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 

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