If you feel that your marriage is at an end you will want clear advice on the options open to you. We are committed to guiding you through the process in such a way that you will retain control over the decisions taken. 

It is important to realise at the outset that the divorce process only deals with the ending of the marriage itself. Any other matters, such as those relating to the children, or financial considerations, are separate issues which we can fully advise you on.

We set out below a guide to the divorce process in order that you may see the steps involved in an undefended divorce.

Ground for divorce

The only ground upon which the Court will grant a divorce is that the marriage must be shown to have broken down irretrievably. This can be shown in one of five ways

  1. Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living with them.
  2. Your spouse has behaved in an unreasonable way leading to you finding it intolerable to live with them.
  3. You and your spouse have been separated for two years and your spouse consents to a divorce.
  4. You have been separated for five years in which case you do not need the consent of your spouse to a divorce.
  5. Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years. 

Divorce process

The first step is to complete the divorce petition setting out the facts which you are putting forward to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Details of any children involved must be included, as must details of any other Court proceedings affecting the marriage, such as domestic violence proceedings. In the petition you are provided with the opportunity to list for the Court all the remedies that you seek, including financial remedies and child contact orders. You can also make a claim that the costs of the divorce are paid by your spouse.

Once completed the divorce petition is sent to the Court with the Court fee, the marriage certificate and a form setting out any arrangements for the children. The petition will then be sent by the Court to your spouse; together with the supporting documents.

Your spouse should then acknowledge to the Court receipt of these documents by sending back to the Court an acknowledgement form in which they will state whether or not the divorce will be defended. In the vast majority of cases the divorce will be undefended, in which case further forms will be sent to the Court requesting that the case is placed before a Judge for Trial.

Provided that the Judge is satisfied with the documentation, and that the ground for the divorce has been proven, the Court will declare a date upon which it will provide an order that decree nisi has been granted.

The marriage, however, is not ended until the Court pronounces a decree absolute, at which stage the Court will require a further Court fee. The whole process usually takes between 4 to 6 months, but can take longer depending upon how busy the Court is and upon the co-operation level of your spouse.