You might be thinking about filing for divorce. However, you might be unsure how you start the divorce process. Here at Holland Family Law, we get asked a lot ‘how do I actually file for divorce?’ Our step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to start divorce proceedings.
Steps to Start the Divorce Process
Step #1 – You Must Meet Divorce Criteria
Under current UK law, you can’t actually start the divorce process unless you have been married for 12 months. Plus, you will need grounds to file for divorce – though this law is changing in the Autumn of 2021.
Grounds for divorce include:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2-year separation (with consent)
- 5-year separation (no consent required)
Step #2 – Hire a Divorce Lawyer
Whether your case is straightforward or complex, hiring a divorce lawyer gives you a safety net, ensuring that you have access to the right legal advice and guidance when you need it most. If your case is straightforward, Holland Family Law offers a fixed fee, start-to-finish service to help with your divorce application.
If your case is more complex, Holland Family Law specialises in divorce law, supporting you throughout your case to deliver the best possible outcome for you. We work with you to help settle your divorce and everything that comes with it, such as financial arrangements and child residence.
Step #3 – File a D8 Divorce Petition
Completing and filing a D8 divorce petition with the Family Court will officially start the divorce process. Holland Family Law can help you complete and file the petition to ensure that there are no inaccuracies, which can lead to delays in your case and additional costs.
Once your divorce petition is filed, you have done everything you can at this stage to start the divorce process. You will then have to wait for the respondent (your former spouse) to acknowledge the petition, which they have to do within seven days.
If the respondent agrees to the divorce, acknowledgment of the petition is likely to be quick, allowing the process to move forward. However, if the respondent decides to contest the divorce, the process could take longer and become more stressful.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?
You don’t need a lawyer to start the divorce process. However, pursuing a divorce without legal representation is never something we would recommend. While the process might start off amicably, things can quickly get messy, especially when it comes to settling finances and child arrangements.
It’s even worth having a lawyer if your case is straightforward, simply because the paperwork can be overwhelming and confusing sometimes, and often a touch of legal expertise can help keep you on track.