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When you are looking at commencing divorce proceedings, there can be so much conflicting advice forced upon you. Unfortunately, as much as your friends, family, co-workers, etc want to help you, ultimately it may just cause you to be more confused than when you started! So, our Lancaster Solicitors have teamed up to explain what really happens during the divorce process, and what you need to do. 
Firstly, we would always suggest consulting a Lancaster Solicitor. MG Legal’s Family team have over 15 years’ experience in dealing with divorces and related financial matters, and are on hand to provide you with the advice that you need. We offer free half-hour consultations and fixed fees so that the whole process doesn’t cost you more than you expected. 
When you consult a Lancaster Solicitor, they should explain to you on what fact or facts you can rely on to get a divorce (see MG Legal’s blog, Divorce: What Grounds do I have? for more information). Once you have chosen which fact you want to rely on, your Lancaster Solicitors will be able to advise you on the next steps. 
Your Lancaster Solicitors will ask you for all the relevant information needed to draft the divorce petition, and should then proceed to doing this on your behalf. This includes the fact which you have relied on. You will be known as the Petitioner, and your spouse as the Respondent. 
After this has been sent to your spouse, along with an explanatory letter, you should be ready to issue this with the Court. This attracts a fee of £550, unless you qualify for a partial or full fee remission (which, again, MG Legal Lancaster Solicitors can help you to apply for). 
Once issued, your spouse will be sent a copy of the petition along with an Acknowledgement of Service document. They will be asked by the Court to complete the document within 7 days and return it to them, however realistically, this can take longer. 
Once the document has been sealed (stamped) by the Court, they will send a copy to your Lancaster Solicitors, which can then be used to draft and apply for your Decree Nisi. The Decree Nisi is also called the first Decree of divorce. 
Once the Decree Nisi application and Statement of Truth has been drafted by your Lancaster Solicitor, they will ask you to attend an appointment to sign the documents, which can then be submitted to the Court. 
The Court will process these, which usually takes in the region of 6 to 8 weeks. Once the Court has processed your application, they will issue your Lancaster Solicitors with a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree, which will provide a date and time for the first Decree to be pronounced. Normally, there is no need for either the Petitioner, Respondent or their Lancaster Solicitors to attend Court on this day, as the hearing is purely administrative. 
Once the hearing date has passed, the Court will issue the Decree Nisi to your Lancaster Solicitors. You are now onto the next stage. 
Your Lancaster Solicitors will prepare your application for Decree Absolute, the second and final Decree of divorce, which can be submitted to the Court exactly 6 weeks and 1 day after pronouncement of your first Decree. Your Lancaster Solicitors will be able to answer any questions that you have about this day. 
Once submitted, the Court will process your application for the final Decree and should then send your Lancaster Solicitors your Decree Absolute. Your Lancaster Solicitors will provide you with the original, which you should keep in a safe place, as it will be needed if you ever wish to remarry. 
Now, whilst not all divorces will be this cut-and-dry, your Lancaster Solicitors will be able to advise you on any questions that you have, and how to proceed if things don’t go to plan! 
MG Legal offers fixed fees of £495 plus VAT for a divorce (as Petitioner) but can also act on your behalf if you are the Respondent for a fixed fee of £395 plus VAT. Call our Lancaster team today on 01524 581 306 to set up your free initial consultation about your divorce. 
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