For uncontested, uncomplicated divorces, the court hearing can be very quick.
Sometimes the whole thing is over before you really know it’s begun!
Often the hearing will be heard in private in the Judge’s room (known as “chambers”), but it can also be heard in open court.
Judges are used to people being nervous, and most of them are kind and understanding. If you have a solicitor, they will do most of the talking for you – just follow their instructions.
If you are representing yourself, you can start off by introducing yourself to the Judge with your full name, and state whether you are the Petitioner or Respondent.
Each Judge is different, but most of them will want to know:
In addition to the above, the judge may ask other questions about the content of the petition too – the arrangements relating to children, etc., for example.
If the Judge is satisfied that the main ground of divorce has been proved – that the marriage has broken down and there is no prospect of reconciliation – they will grant what’s known as a “Decree Nisi” (or a “Conditional Order” in the case of civil partnerships).
The Judge will then usually say that arrangements for children and finances will be dealt with at a later date.
And that usually marks the end of the hearing!
But remember: a Decree Nisi is not your final divorce; it’s just the court order that allows you to apply for your final divorce.
We’ll look at how to do that next.