The divorce process
The legal formality of getting a divorce is a relatively straightforward process. What is generally much less straightforward is sorting out the practical issues associated with a divorce, such as where each person will live, who gets what, and arrangements for any children. Before agreeing matters with your husband or wife, it is wise to take advice from us about your rights and the options available to you.
Once the court is satisfied that you should have a divorce, it sets a date and time for the judge to pronounce the 'decree nisi'. You do not need to go to court for this. It is simply a statement from the court that the divorce can go ahead and the divorce papers are approved. You are not actually divorced at this stage. If at this point you and your husband or wife have not agreed who should pay the legal costs of the divorce, the judge pronouncing the decree nisi will make the decision for you.
Six weeks after the decree nisi, the person applying for the divorce can have the divorce made 'absolute'. This legally dissolves the marriage. However, you are usually better to wait until financial matters ('ancillary relief') have been settled before finalising your divorce in this way.
It is particularly important for you to provide us with full and accurate information about your financial circumstances. A common problem and source of disagreement is where the husband or wife fails to give details of all their assets. This slows everything down and, if the matter cannot be settled out of court, that person may have to pay court costs.
Disagreements settled by the court
If you and your husband or wife cannot solve a disagreement out of court, you can apply for the court to settle the matter. The court will do all it can to encourage you to negotiate an agreement between you, but failing this, the judge will make a decision. Usually the judge will issue a 'court order' to make their decision official.
Recording your agreement
However you go about reaching an agreement with your husband or wife on the terms of a divorce, we can give you advice on the best way to record what you have agreed. If divorce action is already under way, we will usually advise you to opt for a court order which will set out the terms of the agreement clearly and in a way that is legally enforceable. Or, if you have not yet started action for divorce, you should consider making a 'separation agreement'.