How to get a divorce and common questions

Getting divorced is a journey. It can be stressful, expensive and difficult for any children involved. However, by arming yourself with the answers to some of the most common divorce questions, you can hopefully help make the separation process that little bit easier.

Free 30 minute initial consultations available until 21st March

To help you find out more about your legal position and the processes you may need to follow the family law team at Wellers are offering a free half hour, no obligation initial consultation. This will give you the opportunity to ask the questions that are concerning you and get some initial guidance. To apply for this offer please call 020 8464 4242 or email We look forward to your call and assisting you with taking your next steps.

What is No Fault Divorce?

On 6 April 2022 new legislation in England and Wales came into force introducing a new system of no fault divorce, introducing a single requirement for a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the relationship and removing the respondent’s ability to dispute (formerly defend or contest) the divorce or dissolution, except on grounds of jurisdiction, validity of the marriage/partnership, or fraud and procedural non-compliance.

How to get a divorce

To get a divorce in England or Wales you must meet the following criteria:

· you must have been married for at least one year

· your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK

· you or your spouse must have a permanent home in the UK

· you will need to state to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down

The process in England and Wales (it is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland) is as follows :-

· Application: Complete a D8 application form requesting a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. This can either be on a paper form sent by post or via the Gov.UK digital service online. You can either apply solely (you alone) or jointly (with the full knowledge and participation of your spouse/civil partner) apply.

· Details of the marriage: You will need to provide a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.

· Jurisdiction: You will need to prove that you are eligible to be divorced in England or Wales.

· Irretrievable breakdown: You will need to state that you are seeking divorce or dissolution because your marriage/civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. This statement alone will enable the court to make the order for divorce or dissolution.

· Serving the application: A sole applicant can choose how they wish the respondent to receive the divorce application. The default method will be via email or by post if the respondent’s email address is not known. If you do not know the address of the respondent, you will need to complete form D11 which enables service via email alone. You can choose to arrange service of the application yourself (this is the default for a respondent who lives overseas); however, there is a specific process and timeframe for handling the service of divorce papers and any deviation could cause complications with the divorce process.

· Responding to an application: Respondents to a sole application have 14 days to respond. They will complete a D10 form. Disputes on the grounds on grounds of jurisdiction, validity of the marriage/partnership, fraud or procedural non-compliance must be made on form D8B and submitted within 21 days of receiving the divorce/dissolution application.

· Apply for the Conditional Order: After a minimum period of 20 weeks, the sole applicant can apply for the Conditional Order (formerly the decree nisi.

· Apply for the Final Order: Once the Conditional Order has been granted, applicants, either solely or jointly, will need to wait six weeks and one day before they can apply for the Final Order. In sole applications, a ‘notice of intention’ must be served on the other party 14 days before the application for the Final Order is made.

· Granting of the Final Order: Once the Final Order has been granted the marriage/civil partnership is officially dissolved and legal responsibility for the other party is at an end. However, it may take more time to finalise orders in relation to other matters such as children and finances.

How much does a divorce cost?

The current court fee for divorce is £593.00, but there are other costs associated with a divorce. It is very difficult to estimate how much divorce is going to cost in total, primarily depending on financial agreement or dispute and issues relating to any children. The Money Advice Service reports the average cost of a divorce in the UK is around £14,500.

Whilst our fees vary depending on the underlying situation and issues between the parties, based on the many divorce matters we deal with each year, a typical amount for our legal fees would be in the region of £5,000.00 to £10,000.00 plus VAT.

We offer a fixed fee, no-obligation one-hour interview at a reduced rate of just £100 plus VAT so that we may provide you with initial advice and suggest the options for your next course of action.

Further details of Wellers’ fees in relation to divorce and financial settlements can be found on our Cost of Divorce page.

How long will it take to get divorced in the UK?

The new No Fault Divorce process will take a minimum of 26 weeks (six months) once the application has been made to the court. If the parties require more time to apply for the conditional order (formerly decree nisi) this is permissible.

How to choose a divorce solicitor

It is not always necessary to choose a family law firm that is close to you geographically, but it may help if you are going to need to attend meetings with your divorce solicitors. More importantly, choose a firm that can provide a clear idea of the likely breakdown of costs, and a divorce solicitor you feel comfortable working with.

Most firms will provide an initial meeting to discuss your circumstances, so make a list of any questions you have and be sure to take along any information they request of you.

You should also choose a firm that has Family Law accreditation with The Law Society. We have this accreditation.

Wellers Divorce Solicitors

Our lawyer are accredited as specialist by the Law society. We provide a flexible and tailored approach. This means we can assist you with all documentation and represent you at Court or we can provide you with ad hoc advice as and when you require it.

Please call our Family Law solicitors for help or alternatively email your enquiry to