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  • Writer's pictureFernanda Stefani

How to Get a Divorce in England and Wales

I set out the process for a divorce application below. It is important to get advice and consider financial division of assets, maintenance, and contact arrangements for any children. You may also consider whether you will need a Clean Break Order. A Clean Break Order is a type of financial settlement agreed upon by both parties which terminates financial ties between you and your ex after the divorce. No provision is made for spousal maintenance. No future claims can be brought against a former spouse including any pensions entitlement.

Family proceedings are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010). Proceedings for divorce or a matrimonial order must be commenced by an application for a matrimonial order, still referred to as a petition. Either of the spouses may commence Divorce Proceedings. Proceedings for divorce must be commenced in the Family Court.

The application can be done online. You will need to complete a divorce application to begin the process. You can file it online via your solicitors or send a copy of the form to HMCTS Divorce and Dissolution Service (DDS). You can make an application jointly with your ex, or separately.

Once you have applied your application will be checked by the DDS. If you apply jointly, a notice will be sent to you that it was issued. You will then need to wait 20 weeks and after this time you can jointly apply for a conditional order.

You can apply for a conditional order and continue with the divorce as a sole applicant, even if you started the divorce process jointly with your husband or wife.

If you apply solely, your spouse will be notified and will then need to respond within 14 days saying whether they agree with the divorce or whether they dispute it, giving their reasons. If it is agreed, you will then need to wait 20 weeks and apply for a conditional order.

If the judge agrees, the court will send you and your husband or wife a certificate. This may take several weeks.

The certificate will tell you the time and date you will be granted a conditional order. You will still be married after it has been granted. After 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) you can apply to finalise the divorce and end the marriage.

If you are going through a divorce and would like some advice, get in touch with our Family Solicitor Fernanda at or visit our website here:

family disputes
getting a divorce in England


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