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  • The Petitioner prepares and files the divorce papers at the court. 
  • The court sends a copy of the divorce papers and the acknowledgement of service form to the Respondent and any Co-Respondent.
  • The Respondent completes the acknowledgement of service form and returns it to the court. 
  • The court sends a sealed copy of the acknowledgement of service form to the Petitioner.
  • The Petitioner prepares and signs a statement in support of the petition, which is filed with the court requesting a decree of divorce. 
  • The Court considers the papers and, if appropriate, fixes a time and date for pronouncement of decree nisi of divorce. 
  • The decree nisi is pronounced and a cost order is made, where appropriate. 
  • The court will issue the decree absolute on the Petitioner's application, six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is issued. 
  • If the Respondent defends the petition, the divorce will proceed to a court hearing, which all parties will need to attend. 

Legal Terms Defined

The Petitioner is the person who is applying for the divorce.


The Respondent is the person who is being divorced. 


The Co-Respondent in cases of adultery, is the named person with whom the adultery was committed.


Divorce Papers

These include: 

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Petition.  This is the legal document that sets out the reasons for the divorce or judicial separation. 
  • Statement of Reconciliation.  A statement completed by your solicitor stating if you have/have not been advised about being reconciled with your spouse. 
  • Acknowledgement of service is the official form to complete and sign to show that the respondent has received the petition and whether s/he intends to defend it or not.
  • Statement in support of the petition is a written statement confirming that the contents of the petition are true and saying that the petitioner wants to proceed with the divorce. 
  • Decree nisi is the first decree of divorce.  It is a provisional decree and does not dissolve the marriage finally. 
  • Decree absolute is the final decree of divorce.  Once it is made the marriage is at an end and both parties may remarry if they wish to do so.  The court does not make the decree absolute unless one party requests it.  There are sometimes good reasons for delaying the application, which you should discuss with your solicitor.


If the Petitioner delays applying for more than three months after this date then the respondent can apply, by requesting the court to fix an appointment to consider the matter.  The petitioner can object to this.


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