If you have decided your marriage has broken down, the process for a divorce is much simplified.  Since 6th April 2022, a divorce can no longer be contested, unless there is a dispute over the jurisdiction of the court being England and Wales.  This means that the marriage was conducted in accordance with local law and recognised as valid under that law.

You can make an application for a divorce using the court portal, and you will need your marriage certificate and to pay the court fee of £593, although in some circumstances you may be exempt from paying the fee.

There are two ways in which the divorce process can commence. The first is upon a sole application made by you. The alternative is an application made on a joint basis, which would normally be where spouses cooperate with the divorce and are likely to agree to each meeting half of the fee payable.

If you commence a sole application, and if your spouse does not respond to it within 14 days of service, you may ask for the application to be served personally upon your spouse by a process server or court bailiff.  The court process is simplified and the words are different from before 6th April 2022.

Once the divorce application has been approved by the court, there is a period of reflection of 20 weeks, before the next stage may be applied for.  Provided that the respondent has acknowledged the divorce application, the applicant may apply to the court for a Conditional Order.  This was previously known as Decree Nisi.  This is an important stage, as it allows the court to make a financial order.

Once the conditional order is granted, the applicant may apply to the court for the final order, 6 weeks and a day later.

Two preconditions to this apply.

  • You must have been married for at least 1 year
  • If you were married abroad, the marriage must be recognised in England and Wales. This means that the marriage was conducted in accordance with local law and recognised as valid under that law.

The end of a marriage is not easy and will be full of emotion.  It is why speaking to your spouse will be challenging.  If possible, sit down and discuss this with your spouse.

If you are starting your journey and want a divorce, contact us so that we can help you with this challenging time.


Foreign marriages and divorce

Marriages which have taken place outside of England and Wales may, in most cases, be recognised in the courts of England and Wales.  Couples who have had a foreign marriage may be able to divorce in England and Wales, provided that:

  • The marriage is recognised
  • One or both of you are habitually resident in England or Wales

When trying to understand recognition of foreign marriages, there may be specific criteria related to the type of ceremony.  For example, in Islam a nikah nama ceremony is recognised abroad, but not in England and Wales.

If the above conditions are met, a spouse can commence divorce proceedings in England and Wales.





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