Grounds for divorce - How do I get a divorce?

How do I get a divorce?

Divorce is either dealt with online through the Government website and a central digital divorce unit, or by way of submitting pre-printed application forms to the regional divorce centre, located in Bury St Edmunds.

If your circumstances are straightforward then you may find the website is quicker.

There is a central call number for the Bury St Edmunds divorce centre.  As a consequence, calls go through to a central handler who will have access to a very limited amount of information about your case.

You have the choice of either system, as does a solicitor.  One is not more valid than another.  Solicitors are sometimes asked if an online divorce is a real divorce and the answer to this is, yes.


Joint application

If you both agree that you want a divorce and you do not want to instruct a solicitor then you both have to also agree if you want to submit forms to Bury St Edmunds or if you want to deal with it online. 

The Court fee is £593.00.  You will need to forward either your green certified marriage certificate to the Court at Bury St Edmunds with form D8 completed or if using the online system, upload your marriage certificate and fill in the form online.  If you are uploading your marriage certificate you must have a colour copy showing all four corners of the certificate on one page, the serial number and the text must be clearly legible. 

You will both be given a receipt for the divorce when it is issued and you will need to wait 20 weeks before you can apply for a conditional order.

You can then apply for a final order after a further six weeks.

You can submit a clean break order if you reach an agreement in relation to financial issues after the conditional order has been issued.  A clean break order is not a pre printed form that you can fill out on the gov.uk website or obtain as a pre-printed form.  A clean break order is a bespoke order prepared by a solicitor or other lawyer.


Sole application

Only one of you may want a divorce for a number of reasons.  This may be because one of you wants to reconcile or because there are domestic violence issues.  You can divorce whether or not your husband/wife agrees.  He/she can defend but only in very limited legal circumstances and these circumstances do not include that they still want to remain married to you.

Divorcing as a sole applicant can be more complicated if your husband/wife does not acknowledge service.

You can divorce either through the gov.uk website or by submitting form D8 to the Bury St Edmunds divorce centre. 

If you are in receipt of low income/benefits then you may wish to consider asking the Court if you can pay a reduced fee or no fee at all in preference to the full payment of £593.00.  You can check if you are eligible for exemption online by searching 'Help with Court Fees' and completing the online form. This produces a code which you then input online or submit to the Bury St Edmunds Court.  Alternatively, if you are dealing with the Bury St Edmunds Court you may wish to submit form EX160.

You will need your marriage certificate to upload a colour copy showing all four corners and the serial number onto the portal.  The text must be legible and the copy must fit onto one screen.  If you are using the postal option then send your original green certificate.

If you married abroad then your marriage certificate must be in English.  If not it needs to be translated by a certified translator (i.e. not just a relative or yourself).

If you give the email address of your husband/wife, the Court will use this to contact your husband/wife otherwise they will write to him/her at the last known address given.

You will need to prove to the Court that your husband/wife knows about the divorce if they fail to acknowledge service, or in some circumstances you can ask the Court to order that the requirement of responding on a form of acknowledgment of service can be dispensed with.

You can apply for a conditional order after 20 weeks and a final order six weeks after that. 

The Court fee of £593.00 will not be reimbursed when the Court has processed the original application and sent it to your husband/wife even if they fail to acknowledge receipt of the divorce.

You may wish to resolve any issues relating to children and money/property/pensions before you apply for the final order.

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