Divorce procedure and how to get started

Divorce can be due to many reasons and is often very emotionally challenging. Mansouri & Son have the expertise and experience to help relieve some of the pressures and complexities of the divorce procedure; leaving you with much needed peace of mind to start to reconstruct your new life without your partner. Often during divorce you will see a side to your spouse, which you never knew existed. We can help to allay some of your concerns and we will advise you, in plain English, what your rights are and what you can expect to achieve from the divorce.

For answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce follow this link

As part of our ongoing commitment to client satisfaction, our fees structure will be unambiguous and very reasonable. In most cases we will be able to conduct your whole divorce process on a simple Fixed Fee basis, allowing you to budget for the rest of life’s up’s and downs.

Getting Started

To commence a divorce in England & Wales you must first lodge a Petition. The petition will embody the grounds and facts upon which you seek your divorce. It will also embody any financial claim which you may seek against your spouse.

To lodge a divorce petition, you will need to have been married for at least 1 year and either you or your spouse must be ordinarily domiciled in England & Wales. It doesn’t usually matter where you were married, as long as you meet this criteria. You will however need the original of your marriage certificate. If you don’t have a marriage certificate, we can advise you of your options.

Divorce in England & Wales can only be on the grounds that the ‘marriage has irretrievably broken down‘. There is no longer any need to provide further reasons for the breakdown of the marriage.

read more about the ‘grounds’ for divorce.

The Divorce Process

Filing for divorce – To start divorce proceedings, a single or joint divorce application must be filed via the online divorce portal. In that application, you must include a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’ to confirm that the relationship has come to an end.

The process has been simplified and many people choose to do this themselves. However; where you have assets or children, it’s usually a good idea to get advice from a specialist divorce solicitor. This will save potential complications down the line.

Responding to a divorce application – If your spouse makes a sole application for divorce, you will be notified by the relevant court and must reply within 14 days with an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form.  This is usually filed online, via the portal.

Conditional Order – The Conditional Order is a legal document issued by a court establishing that there is no barrier to your divorce.

After the divorce application has been issued, you have to wait a minimum 20-week cooling off period before you can apply for the Conditional Order. This has been introduced as part of the no-fault divorce laws and aims to give couples time to consider their decision and make any necessary arrangements. These may include financial arrangements or matters affecting children.

Final Order – Once a Conditional Order has been granted, you will then need to wait another 6 weeks, and you can then apply for a Final Order. Once a court issues you with a Final Order, your marriage is legally over.

Defending a divorce – Under the no-fault divorce laws, the option to contest/defend a divorce has been no longer exists. However; some divorces can be contested under the very limited circumstances. For instance, when marriage is not valid, or the English/Welsh courts have no jurisdiction. If this is a concern, you will certainly need assistance from a solicitor.


Many things can complicate a divorce. Examples of these are when you do not know your spouses current whereabouts, or there may be serious disagreement about the children, or worse still, you may be the victim of domestic violence. At Mansouri & Son Solicitors we can advise and assist you with these and many other complications at all stages of the divorce procedure. For specific advice relating to your particular circumstances, just call 020 8401 7352.