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Ending a marriage is not a simple process. Sometimes there can be a lot of heartache especially if there are children involved and if one party cannot except that the marriage is over. In a divorce case the person asking the court for the divorce is called a “plaintiff" and, the other partner is called the “respondent".

In order to divorce, the couple must have been married for at least a year and, one party must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably using one of the following reasons. These reasons are called “grounds".

* Separation of at least five years.

* Separation of at least two years with the consent of respondent to the divorce.

* The respondent’s adultery

* The respondent’s unreasonable behaviour

* The respondent’s desertion amounting to two years or more.

If there are no children, the divorce can be straight-forward where the respondent simply signs and walks away. This process should take under six months.

How does the process work?

Set below are guidelines of how the process of filing a divorce works. This is a factual guideline and should be used as just that. If you are thinking about going through the divorce procedure then it is strongly recommended that you seek professional legal advice from a qualified solicitor.

Divorce proceedings work by, firstly, the plaintiff filing the court with the marriage certificate and divorce petition.

The court then officially receipts the papers and sends the divorce petition and a notice of proceedings to the respondent.

The respondent signs and returns the consent form, and appropriate documents, then sends them back to the court.

The court then sends the plaintiff more documents including an affidavit which must be signed at a solicitors office or at the court. (An affidavit is a sworn statement detailing the evidence of an irretrievable breakdown which will be used in court as evidence. )

The case is then heard by the district judge, and if satisfied, he/she will set out a date for the decree nisi.

The plaintiff is able to ask the court to declare the decree absolute six weeks and a day after the issue of the decree nisi. This is done by filling in a form and sending it to the court.

The decree absolute is issued, and in the eyes of the law, the marriage is over.

Tracey Aldous

Tracey Aldous is a trainee accountant who is a freelance writer in her spare time. Tracey is currently working, in partnership, on her own information website, alongside a small team of like-minded professional people.


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