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Deciding to start divorce proceedings is likely to be one of the most difficult decisions you make in life, especially if you are unsure about the divorce process. Whether you have been married for a short or a long period of time, it is an emotional experience, and you need to make sure it is the right thing for you and your family.

Here at DTM we have an experienced team who can guide you through the process. Our experts can offer a first free half hour meeting which will provide you with some overview of the process and other issues (i.e., children and finances) which you may also need to consider.

Once you have decided to move forward with the process, here are some FAQs that our clients raise with us:

How do I begin the Divorce process?

  • You have to be married for a period of 12 months to begin any divorce process and the marriage must be legally recognised in the UK.
  • Divorces are now largely dealt with via an electronic portal system run by the court although it is still possible, if necessary, to proceed with a paper application.
  • Applications can be made by one party or as a joint application.
  • You will need to provide your marriage certificate with the completed application and pay the court fee of £593.00.

What are the grounds for Divorce?

  • In April 2022, the “No Fault” divorce was introduced which also changed some of the terminology.
  • There is a declaration that you believe your marriage has irretrievably broken down to complete within the process and this allows the divorce to move through the various stages to then dissolve your marriage.
  • The previous law required divorce applications to be based on one of five facts to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage which included adultery, behaviour and separation. This is no longer required.

What if my husband or wife won’t cooperate?

  • Following the introduction of the no fault divorce, whilst it was always rare to succeed in defending a divorce, it is now not possible to contest a divorce except in limited circumstances which must be a genuine legal reason.
  • The progress of the divorce needs your husband or wife to cooperate by returning the Acknowledgement of Service once they receive your application. If they fail to do this, however, then personal service of the papers upon your husband or wife needs to take place. Here at DTM we work with a number of firms who can personally serve the documents and who appreciate the sensitivity with which this has to be handled.
  • Once personal service has been effected, you can move through the process and dissolve your marriage.

How long will it take?

  • Approximately 6 to 7 months.
  • There are statutory waiting times within the process. For example, there is a period of 20 weeks from the date of your application prior to you obtaining the interim order now known as the Conditional Order (previously Decree Nisi) which has to pass. This was introduced with the sweeping reforms/no fault divorce in April 2022 to effectively introduce a “reflection period” for the parties to reflect and decide that they definitely want a divorce.
  • The divorce portal is working very well (in the main!) and prompts are given by email at each stage to move onto the next.

How much will it cost?

  • A court fee of £593 has to be paid at the start.
  • At DTM we can give some certainty with regards to the cost due to the finite process of the divorce system. We are happy to discuss this with you (please note this does not include work that we may have to carry out on your behalf in relation to other matters, for example, in relation to financial matters arising from your separation and arrangements for children).

Outline of your Divorce Process

The seven steps of the Divorce Process in the UK infographic

The Divorce Process in the UK explained in seven steps


Discuss your Divorce, Dissolution or Separation with a legal expert

For guidance on any Divorce and Dissolution issue or a winder Family Law concern, speak with Helen Davies by calling 01244 568 635 or email her at

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