This Quick Guide does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only.
Divorce and the dissolution (ending) of a civil partnership are both dealt with by the Family Court in England and Wales. This Quick Guide assumes that you have considered your options (including counselling and mediation) in respect of your marriage/civil partnership and have made an informed decision to divorce (or to dissolve your civil partnership).
STAGE 1: The Divorce Petition
The first stage in the divorce process is the filing of a divorce petition with the Family Court.
The form on which to apply is the D8 Divorce Petition which is available here. It is helpful to complete this form with the associated notes.
Once you have completed the Divorce Petition you will need to send two copies to your nearest Divorce Centre, depending on where you live. If you live in the Greater Manchester area you will need to send two copies of the Divorce Petition, a certified copy of your marriage certificate (certified copies can be requested here), and payment of £550 to:
Liverpool Family Court Regional Divorce Unit 35 Vernon Street Liverpool Merseyside L2 2BX
Payment can be made via debit or credit card or by cheque. If you are sending a cheque, ensure you make it payable to HMCTS.
'I can't afford the fee!'
If you can't afford the fee for the Divorce Petition then you may be entitled to have it remitted (i.e. you will not need to pay, or you will only need to pay a smaller amount.)
To work out what portion you will have to pay, read through the EX160 A notes here.
Once you have done this, you will need to complete and include form EX160 (available here) and send it with the two copies of the Divorce Petition and certified copy of your marriage certificate to the Divorce Centre. You will also need to include proof (the relevant documents to include e.g. benefits entitlement letters, bank statements, etc. are detailed in the EX160 A notes above.)
Summary of what to send to the Divorce Centre:
If you are not entitled to any fee remission, you will need to send the documents in Example 1, below.
If you are entitled to a partial fee remission, you will need to send the documents in Example 2, below.
If you are entitled to a full fee remission, you will need to send the documents in Example 3, below.