How to handle your own divorce proceedings - The procedure


1 Approach the court office of your local county court explaining that you wish to handle your own divorce proceedings. Some county courts actually provide a 'do-it-yourself pack'. If you file the petition, you will be known as the petitioner, while your spouse will be known as the respondent.

2 Complete:

(a) A form of petition for divorce (b) A statement of arrangements for the children, if there are children of the marriage .

3 Lodge with these forms the original or a certified copy (not an ordinary photocopy) of your marriage certificate (a certified copy can be obtained from the Registry of Births, Marriages & Deaths).

4 Lodge a petition fee of £140 unless you are exempt by virtue of your income level

5 Copies of the petition (and statement of arrangements for the children) will be sent to your spouse together with a form of acknowledgement of service

Service of the petition personally by you the petitioner is not acceptable to the court so make sure that service of the petition is done by post by the court.

6 Your spouse will complete the form of acknowledgement of service and send it back to the court.

7 The court will stamp the form of acknowledgement of service and will send a photocopy to you, the petitioner.

8 Obtain from the court office, if you have not already done so, an

� affidavit in support of your petition. Complete this and attach to it a copy of the acknowledgement of service duly signed by the respondent. The affidavit must be 'sworn' either before a solicitor who will make a charge of £133.75 or at the court office where there is no charge.

9 The affidavit is then lodged at the court together with a form of request for directions for trial.

In due course it will come before a registrar who will ensure that the correct procedure has been adhered to and that the grounds for divorce and basis of the petition have been proved. You will then be notified of a date for the pronouncement of decree nisi.

10 It is not necessary for you to attend court for the pronouncement of decree nisi. A certificate of decree nisi will be sent to you and to your spouse in due course.

11 Six weeks after the pronouncement of decree nisi you, as petitioner, can complete the appropriate form.

Lodge it at the court and a certificate making decree nisi absolute will be sent to you within a few days. There is a fee of £110 payable on the application for a certificate making decree nisi absolute. The certificate is the document you will need if you wish to remarry. Keep the certificate in a


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How to handle your own divorce proceedings

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