How can you arrange your own divorce?

by Daniel Jones

Deciding that your marriage has no future is always tough, so the last thing you will want is for messy and drawn out divorce proceedings to follow.

Not everyone has the funds available to leave a divorce entirely in the hands of a legal team, so doing it yourself can be a good option. The good news is that it's possible to handle your divorce personally, without the help of legal experts.

Divorce is an option that is open to anyone who has been married for at least a year and has found that their relationship has broken down for good.

3 steps to getting a divorce

  1. You need to file a divorce petition, which is effectively an application to the court for permission to go your separate ways. At this stage you will have to show the reasons behind your split.

  2. You must apply for a decree nisi, which comes if your spouse agrees to the divorce. It's a document that states that you're allowed to go ahead and complete the permanent split.

  3. You should seek a decree absolute, which legally ends your marriage.

Agreeing to divorce

If you're to manage your own divorce, you will need to agree on certain issues with your partner first. These include: 

  • The reasons for you requiring a separation
  • How you're going to look after any children in the future
  • How assets - such as money and property - will be split between the two of you.

Should you be unable to reach an agreement on any of these matters you're likely to require legal representation, but if you're both reading from the same hymn sheet a DIY divorce is entirely realistic.

For starters, agreeing on these matters will save you from a court hearing, while the paperwork involved when all parties are happy is fairly simple.

If you don't agree

If you find that you're not in agreement over one or more of the relevant issues but still want to go ahead with managing your divorce, you can turn to the professional mediation sector. Experts will be on hand to help you work out a settlement with your spouse.

Grounds for divorce

Before you can apply for a divorce, you must have reasonable grounds for doing so. There are five acceptable reasons for ending a marriage, so be sure your case fits one of them.

These are:

  1.  Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. Living apart for two years and you both agree you want a divorce
  5. Living apart for five years with just one party wishing for a divorce.

Agreeing on the reason for your split is an important factor in being able to oversee your own divorce, as it will reduce the possibility of any legal wrangling in this area. You should note that you cannot use adultery as a reason if you lived with your partner for six months or more after you found out.ADNFCR-1645-ID-801684724-ADNFCR

More information

Published on: January 21, 2014

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