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There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales which is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The breakdown needs to be proved by reliance upon one of the following five grounds:

Filing for a divorce can be done by either party after 12 months of marriage providing that one or both parties have been a resident of England or Wales for the whole of the preceding year.


Overview of procedure undefended divorce

The Petitioner is the person requesting the divorce and who starts the legal process. The Respondent is the recipient of the divorce paperwork.


A divorce petition is the actual document which seeks a divorce.


With the change to the law following the introduction of the Children & Families Act 2014 on 22 April 2014, it is no longer necessary for a Statement of Arrangements for Children to be filed.

Starting Proceedings – a brief overview

The Petition is sent to the Respondent initially for agreement and thereafter to Court, by the Petitioner.

The Respondent then receives the paperwork in the post and responds on the Acknowledgement of Service document which the Court supplies. This is then returned to the Court and sent on to the Petitioner.

Assuming that the divorce is not being defended, the Petitioner signs a statement of truth in support of the divorce petition confirming that the facts are true and asks the Court to list the matter for what is known as Decree Nisi. Literally Nisi means ‘unless’. The Court then checks that the rules have been complied with and lists the matter for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. Generally unless there are any issues in relation to who is paying the costs no one attends the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

Six weeks and one day later it is possible for the Petitioner to ask for the final stage of the divorce the Decree Absolute.

There are many different things to consider when you separate, not least of which is in relation to any children you may have but also in terms of resolving your financial circumstances. The divorce itself does not sort this out for you and we would advise that you talk to one of our solicitors about your specific circumstances.


For more information on how you might sort out children issues or financial considerations please click on one of the following links:

Collaborative Law, Mediation, Round Table Meetings, Fast Track, Traditional Solicitor Negotiations and Family Arbitration.

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Talk To One Of Our Legal Experts

01908 262680

Talk To One Of Our Legal Experts

01908 262680

2019 Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts and Middx – South East

Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.

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2019 Family/Matrimonial – Milton Keynes and surrounds

What the team is known for
Boutique family law firm that punches above its weight in terms of high-value and complex matrimonial finance instructions relating to business assets, pensions and substantial property portfolios, including assisting with the handling of assets abroad. Also represents clients in the negotiation of wealth protection agreements and private law childcare arrangements. Fields a team trained in collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution.

An impressed client says: "The team's personal service and individual care is a great asset,"adding that the lawyers are "always available to assist and understand the occasional need for immediate advice and guidance, providing a very reassuring service."

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