The experienced team of family law lawyers at Macks Solicitors know that the breakdown of a relationship can be very difficult to handle – emotionally and financially.

If not handled sympathetically, the stress of dealing with the consequences can make matters even worse.

Our divorce solicitors will provide all the help you need to fully understand the legal and other practical consequences of the breakdown of your relationship.

Critically, we’ll try to resolve issues constructively and amicably without involving the court.. If it is not possible to resolve things out of court we’ll assist you with the court process, including financial provision and any arrangements for the care of children.

Our comprehensive family law lawyers cover all areas, including…

  • Divorce, separation and dissolution of a civil partnership
  • Financial advice
  • Issues surrounding children
  • Cohabitation agreements and disputes
  • Civil partnerships
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Collaborative law

The Divorce Process

Five Facts

To obtain a divorce you must establish one of five facts evidencing the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage:

  • Your spouse has committed adultery
  • Your spouse has behaved so unreasonably that you cannot be expected to continue living together
  • Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years
  • You and your spouse have been living apart for two years and your spouse agrees to a divorce
  • You and your spouse have been living separately for five years or more. 


After one year of marriage: Either spouse may file a petition for divorce at a Family Court. If our divorce lawyers are acting for the Petitioner, Macks Solicitors will prepare the petition.

Within a few days of issue: The court sends a copy of the petition to the other spouse and to anyone named as co-respondent. 

Within seven working days of receipt: The Respondent should acknowledge receipt of the petition. If our divorce lawyers are acting for the Respondent, Macks will assist in completing the form of acknowledgement.

Within 21 days of the expiry of the time to acknowledge receipt of the petition, The Respondent must file an answer if he or she intends to defend the proceedings. An answer can be filed even if an acknowledgement has not been returned. Defended divorces resulting in a full court case are rare – usually a compromise is reached – but the divorce is inevitably delayed and significantly more costs will be incurred if an answer is filed.

If our divorce lawyers are acting for the Respondent we will advise fully on the implications and merits of filing an answer

 Within a few days of receiving the acknowledgement: The court sends a copy to the Petitioner’s divorce lawyers. Upon receipt, and provided that the Respondent is not defending the proceedings, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Nisi. Further forms must be completed to obtain this, including a statement verifying the contents of the divorce petition.

 On receipt of the application for the Decree Nisi: The District Judge at the Court will look at the papers and as long as they are in order, will give a certificate for the Decree Nisi to be granted. The date of the pronouncement will depend on the court diary and may be several weeks ahead.

 Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi: The Petitioner may apply for the Decree Nisi to be made absolute to finalise the process.. If our divorce lawyers are acting for the Petitioner, Macks will arrange for the appropriate forms to be lodged at the Court. The court will process this application, usually within 24 hours.

There may be a reason to delay applying for Decree Absolute particularly if financial matters haven’t been finalized and our divorce lawyers will advise you about this.

 Three months after the Petitioner could first have applied for the Decree Absolute: The Respondent may apply if the Petitioner has not already done so.

 Who can file a divorce petition?

Anyone who has been married for over a year, provided that one or the other habitually lives in England or Wales, or both husband and wife are domiciled there, or, where no other EEC state has jurisdiction, where one of the couple is domiciled there. It doesn’t matter where the marriage took place.

 What does the petition look like?

Every petition is a standard form containing basic information such as names and addresses and ages of the children. One section details the facts evidencing the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There is also a section known as the “prayer” for setting out a request for a divorce and notifying your wishes to make claim in respect of financial matters.


The mechanics of obtaining a divorce are currently quite straightforward, particularly if both partners feel that the marriage is over. The difficulties tend to lie in resolving the related issues stemming from the breakup of the marriage, including how to separate, arrangements over the children and money matters. Divorce Glossary


  • Petitioner – the person who starts the divorce proceedings
  • Respondent – the other spouse
  • Decree Nisi – the pronouncement by a judge that the marriage has irretrievably broken down
  • Decree Absolute – the document that shows that the marriage has been dissolved and which can be applied for six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi.

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