After you lodge your divorce petition with the Matrimonial Office, the staff there will check:
After the paperwork has been processed, it will be returned to you for “service” on your partner and any other co-respondents.
The word “service” simply means that the papers have been delivered to your partner.
You can “serve” the documents by:
You should not serve the divorce paperwork yourself.
You should include the sealed copy of the divorce petition together with the Original Forms M4/M5/M6 (where necessary).
After your partner has received the documents, they should complete the Acknowledgement of Service (Form M6).
If the divorce is defended, there will be a round of what are called “pleadings” – this is where each partner will provide evidence to support their positions, seek discovery of documents, exchange arguments, etc.
Once all of the documents are exchanged and in order, you must lodge the Certificate of Readiness and pay the court fee.
The fee for a court hearing, at the time of writing, is £296 for the county court and £355 in the High Court (you can see the current fees here).
(Remember that these are only the fees for the court, if you have legal representation their fees will be extra).
After the fee has been paid and the paperwork has been processed, your case will be listed for a court hearing.
You will receive notification by post, letting you know the date and time when your case will be heard.
We’ll look at what happens at the court hearing in the next section, but before we do that, we should take a quick look at some of the evidence you should consider gathering in anticipation of your divorce.