This is when Form D8 is completed and sent to the Court with the applicable fee, which is currently £550. It is common courtesy for the respondent (the other party) to see a copy of the petition before it is sent to the Court. The Court will “issue” the petition meaning they will give it a case number and send a copy to the respondent. This can take 2 – 3 weeks.


The respondent has 7 days from receipt of the stamped copy to respond to the Court using the form labelled “Acknowledgement of service”. They will confirm their position to the divorce using this form.

It may be case that the respondent does not send an Acknowledgement of service to the Court. In such a scenario, the petitioner must prove that the respondent received the petition. This can be done by hiring a process server, or a Court Bailiff, which will mean further costs. Alternatively, if the respondent has written to the petitioner about the petition, sending a copy of this communication to the Court may be sufficient.

Decree Nisi

Once an Acknowledgement of service has been filed, or the petitioner has proved that the respondent has received a copy of the petition, the petitioner can apply for a Decree Nisi. The Court will consider the petitioner’s application and see if it meets to all legal and procedural requirements.

If satisfied, the Court will provide a date for when the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. A Court order confirming the same will be sent to the petitioner and the respondent. It is not necessary for anyone to attend Court.

Decree Absolute

A Decree Absolute formally ends the marriage and makes the divorce official. This can be applied for 6 weeks and 1 day after the grant of the Decree Nisi at the earliest.

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