We now use the online divorce process which is much quicker than before. Either the applicant or joint applicant submit the application then the court issues the documentation. The court will then serve the application on the respondent by email and post. Service must take place within 28 days. The application is served along with an acknowledgement of service form and a notice of proceedings. There can be difficulties with serving the divorce petition which may result in the applicant having to make further applications to the court.
The respondent should then return the acknowledgement of service form to the court indicating whether or not he or she consents to the divorce and or if there is any issue with the validity of the marriage or jurisdiction of the courts. If the proceedings are undisputed there will be no need for either to attend court in relation to the divorce proceedings.
If the case is not disputed and the acknowledgement of service form has been returned, then the applicant can then apply for the Conditional Order after waiting 20 weeks. This is done by completing a further form. This is known as the application for Conditional Order stage. The 20 week waiting period allows parties to have a period of reflection and allow couples to resolve other issues such as child or financial arrangements.
Once submitted all documents have been submitted to the court the case is referred to a District Judge who will look at the divorce papers to see whether all the procedural details are correct.
Once the Conditional Order is granted there is a requirement to wait six weeks before the Conditional Order can be made Final. This is undertaken by submitting the relevant form to the court. In exceptional circumstances this six-week period can be abridged. If there is a joint application then one applicant has give 14 days notice to the other before applying for the Final Order.
In most cases the Final Order should not be applied for until such time as an Order has been approved by the Court dealings with all claims the parties have against each other for capital, income, pension sharing and under the inheritance Act. Neither party can remarry, nor indeed should they take steps to make arrangements for remarriage until the Final Order is obtained.