Do I have to go to court to get divorced?

To legally end your marriage, it is necessary to apply to the court and begin the legal divorce process. However, unless the divorce is defended by the other party, there will be no need for you to attend court.

The judge will consider the divorce petition on paper and make a decision as to whether a Decree Nisi should be granted. After 6 weeks and 1 day from the Decree Nisi, you can apply for the Decree Absolute. The entire process usually takes 6 to 9 months if undefended.

If the divorce is defended, then there will be a court hearing that you must attend. You, or a family law solicitor on your behalf, would need to explain to the Judge why the divorce should proceed.

Once you have obtained the Decree Absolute, this is the end of the divorce process. However, it is important to consider any financial claims that you or your partner may have. Obtaining a Decree Absolute does not dismiss any potential claims that you have in relation to finances; you can return to court for a financial hearing even after Decree Absolute has been granted.

The majority of divorces are undefended, meaning that they can be granted by the Judge without parties attendance at court.

If you would like any further information or advice in relation to divorce, please contact our specialist family lawyers: Mark Vandaele on 01902 796930 ( at our Wolverhampton office or Rachel Baker on 01384 340 580 ( at our Cradley Heath office.