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When should I conduct my own divorce/dissolution?

You should be able to arrange your own divorce if you agree on the reasons for a divorce, how you'll look after any children and how you'll split up money, property and possessions.( + expand info )

  • Which forms do I need to conduct my own divorce/dissolution?
  • You will need 2 copies of form DIV1 (Divorce/Dissolution/(Judicial) Separation Petition) for the court (3 if you named someone your husband or wife had an affair with). However, if children are involved you will also need two copies of form C100 (Application under the Children Act 1989 for a Residence, Contact, Prohibited steps, Specific Issue Section 8 Order or to Vary or Discharge a Section 8 Order), for the court or 3 if you named someone your husband or wife had an affair with, plus 1 copy for Cafcass or CAFCASS Cymru. Finally, DIV33, to make the decree nisi absolute, is also needed.
  • When can I start divorce/dissolution proceedings?
  • You cannot start an application for divorce/dissolution unless you have been married/in a civil partnership for more than one year.
  • How do I start divorce/dissolution proccedings?
  • You will need to complete form DIV1 (Divorce/Dissolution/(Judicial) Separation Petition) and send your application to any divorce county court, or in the Principal Registry in London (PRFD). In the case of a civil partnership you will need to send the application form to a civil partnership county court or the PRFD.
  • How much will the divorce cost?
  • As of 1st July 2013, you will have to pay a £410 court fee to start divorce proceedings. For more information about fees, please refer to booklet EX50 - Civil and Family Court Fees (High Court and County Court).
  • What if I cannot afford to pay the court fee?
  • If you cannot afford to pay a court fee, you may be eligible for a fee remission in full or in part. To apply for fee remission use form EX160 and read guidances notes EX160A.
  • Will I need to attend court?
  • If both parties agree to the divorce and the arrangements, you won't have to go to a court hearing, and the divorce paperwork should be fairly straightforward. However, when a divorce is defended or both sides file divorce petitions, the court will usually hold a hearing to discuss the case.

There are five grounds (reasons) for divorce( + expand info )

  • What are the five grounds for divorce?
  • The five grounds of divorce are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, you have lived apart for more than 2 years or you have lived apart for more than 5 years.
  • What is adultery?
  • Adultery is where your husband or wife has sex with someone else of the opposite sex, and you can no longer bear to live with them. NB. You can't give adultery as a reason if you lived with your husband or wife for 6 months after you found out about it.
  • What is unreasonable behaviour?
  • Unreasonable behaviour is where your husband or wife has behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them, this includes physical violence and verbal abuse.
  • What is desertion?
  • Desertion is where your husband or wife has left you without your agreement or good reason, to end your relationship, for more than 2 years in the past 2½ years.
  • What are the requirements if we have been apart for more than 2 years?
  • You can get a divorce if you've lived apart for more than 2 years and both agree to the divorce, this agreement must be in writing.
  • What are the requirements if we have been apart for more than 5 years?
  • You can obtain a divorce if you have lived apart for more than 5 years, even if your husband or wife disagrees with the divorce.

Arrangements for children( + expand info )

  • When should I make arrangements for my children?
  • You may need to make arrangements for your children if you divorce, end your civil partnership or separate from your partner. You can make decisions with your ex-partner or with the help of a mediator. If you can't agree, some arrangements can be decided by a court order (C100), including where the children will live, when they'll spend time with each parent and who'll pay child maintenance. You must prove you've considered mediation before you go to court - this doesn't apply in some cases, eg if there's been domestic abuse.
  • Do I have to attend mediation with my ex-partner?
  • Under section 10(1) of the Children and Families Act 2014 it is now a requirement for a person to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) before making certain kinds of applications to obtain a court order, except where there have been allegations of abuse or child protection. An agreement reached through family mediation can be made legally binding. To apply for a court order using form C100, you must include the Form FM1 (Family Mediation and Assessment Form) issued by an approved family mediation provider.
  • How much does it cost to apply for a court order?
  • It costs £215 to apply for a court order.

My husband or wife has started divorce proceedings against me( + expand info )

  • How long do I have to respond to the court?
  • You have 21 days to respond or your husband or wife can continue with the divorce as if you've agreed.
  • What do I need to do if I agree with the divorce?
  • If you agree with the divorce petition, you will need to fill in and return the acknowledgment of service form (sent with the divorce petition) to the court within 8 days, and the divorce will go ahead.
  • What do I need to do if I disagree with the divorce?
  • To disagree with the divorce petition fill in the acknowledgment of service form (received with the divorce petition) at the part that says you're defending the divorce and return it within 8 days. The court will send copies to your husband or wife. Once the form is returned, you have up to 21 days to say why you are defending the divorce. This is called 'giving an answer'.
  • How much will it cost to defend the divorce?
  • As of the 1st July 2013 you may have to pay a £245 court fee.
  • Can I start my own divorce proceedings?
  • Upon receipt of a divorce petition you may, if you wish, start your own divorce proceedings against your husband or wife, e.g. if you have evidence of their adultery or unreasonable behaviour. You must complete DIV1 (Divorce/Dissolution/(Judicial) Separation Petition) and return it to the court with the appropriate fee.