How to start your divorce
Deciding to get a divorce is a big step and not a decision you have come to without careful consideration. The idea of petitioning for divorce can be very daunting and difficult to know where to begin.
Starting the process can be the hardest part, as reality hits once you get the ball rolling. Sometimes people find it a good idea to discuss their options with a family lawyer first, to gain information about child arrangements, financial settlements, and other divorce-related questions. They may be able to tell you things you were not aware of. Each person’s situation is different and no case is exactly the same.
For instance, a solicitor may advise that you should apply for an annulment instead of a divorce if the marriage was not legally valid in the first place.
What is the first thing I should do if I want a divorce?
The first thing to do if you want to get a divorce is to check that you can actually get a divorce. You must have been married for at least 1 year and your relationship must have permanently broken down with no chance of going back. Your marriage should also be legally recognised in the UK.
Next, you should think about whether you want to make a joint application or a sole application. Making a joint application means that both of you agree to go ahead with the divorce. This may not always be possible if the breakdown is not amicable. If you believe it is appropriate to do so, you should discuss this option with your spouse. If they contest the divorce, you can still go ahead with a sole application and continue the process yourself.
Once you have taken these initial steps, you can then begin the process. You may wish to reach out to a legal professional such as a family law solicitor to help you with the application process. Many people find comfort in instructing a solicitor as it can be an emotional time and professional support can be very useful. Alternatively, you can apply yourself.
What documents do I need to start my divorce process?
Before making the divorce application, you will need yours and your partner’s full name and address, along with your marriage certificate and any proof of name change.