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Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnerships

Here is some basic information, which we hope you will find helpful:

The process for obtaining a divorce/dissolution follows a number of stages:

  •  Issue of Petition
  •  Decree Nisi or Conditional Order
  •  Decree Absolute or Final Order

Getting to the Decree Nisi is, generally, fairly straightforward and quick.

To grant a divorce, the Court simply requires to be satisfied that the marriage is irretrievably over.

This can be established by one of five grounds:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour. (Beware!  The Court requires genuinely unreasonable behaviour – not just squeezing the middle of the toothpaste tube….).
  2. Adultery (applies to divorce but not dissolution of civil partnerships).
  3. Two years’ separation with consent.
  4. Five years’ separation without consent.
  5. Two years' desertion.

Once service of the Petition on the spouse is proved, and as long as no defence is lodged, the Court will grant a Decree Nisi as a paper exercise. 

This is the first step on the way to divorce – which will not be complete until the Decree Absolute has been granted.

In the simplest of cases a Decree Absolute can also be obtained as a paper exercise six weeks after the Decree Nisi has been granted.

Generally, it is advisable to deal with financial issues before applying for a Decree Absolute and an agreement or Court Order settling finances between you is often just as important as the divorce itself. Find out more information on financial settlements.

Only after Decree Absolute are you free to remarry.

The divorce itself is (usually) the easy bit.  The headaches are most likely to arise regarding finances and children.


We promise that we will

  1. Listen to you
  2. Communicate with you
  3. Advise you and, above all
  4. Fight for you

It may be hard now – but we will see you through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Contact us by phone or email whenever you are ready.


Clive Barker was exceptionally understanding of how I felt and that transferred back into his professional capacity.

Case Ref. T922/2

Clive Barker - very professional and knowledgable. I would consult Clive again if I needed advice in the future. Very efficient service - all staff polite and friendly

Case Ref. L1646/1

Clive and Amanda, thank you, it was an experience I didn’t think I would go through but everything ran as smoothly as it could.

Case Ref. S3377/1

Our Divorce Team

Clive Barker

Solicitor Consultant

Head of Family Law

Clive Barker

Direct Dial:01252 550433

Email Clive Barker

Clive is a Consultant; he qualified as a Solicitor in 1968 and has always specialised in family law.

He is the Head of our Family Law Department and has a particular interest in difficult or complex financial disputes, and property disputes between unmarried couples.

Jennifer Lee


Family Department

Jennifer Lee

Direct Dial:01252 550432

Email Jennifer Lee

Jennifer qualified as a Solicitor in 2014. She specialises in family law and, within that discipline, has particular specialism in disputes over children and domestic violence issues.

Jon Beck

Solicitor/Barrister (New Zealand, non-practising)

Family Department

Jon Beck

Direct Dial:01252 550441

Email Jon Beck

Jon qualified and practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in his native New Zealand, before moving to the UK in 2010, where he has specialised in family law.

Jon has a particular interest in divorces, the separation of unmarried couples involving difficult property disputes and cases with an international flavour. He has earned particular respect for his success handling cases in which a parent seeks to remove a child from the jurisdiction.