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If your partner files for a divorce, you will receive the following documents: If you don’t respond within 21 days, your partner can usually continue with the divorce as if you have agreed to it.You should respond within 8 days by filling in the form and returning it to the divorce centre, so the process can proceed quickly Fill in the ‘defending the divorce’ section of the acknowledgement of service form.Your spouse will then be sent a copy of your intention to dispute the petition, and you’ll have to say why you are defending the divorce within 21 days - a process called ‘giving an answer’.If you want to start your own proceedings against your spouse after receiving a petition, you can fill out a divorce petition form of your own - but you may need to pay a £550 fee.For full details of how the Scottish system differs from the one in England and Wales, check out the Citizens Advice Guide to getting divorced in Scotland.In Northern Ireland, meanwhile, you’ll need to be married for at least two years before getting divorced.You can find out more about how to do this by reading the UK government’s guide to Visas when you separate or divorce.If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know.
If you want to be separated without officially getting divorced, you can instead apply for legal separation.
If you need legal help to divide your assets, you should apply for this first before attempting to obtain a decree absolute.
If your partner started the divorce but has stopped short of applying for a decree absolute, you can only do so after an extra 3 months - and you’ll have to pay a £155 fee and go to a court hearing.
If you can’t agree on a plan, you can get advice through a mediator to help you come up with a parenting plan, and if this isn’t possible, you may have to go to hearings to get a court order before going before a judge or magistrate, who will rule on custody.
For full details of how the process works, it’s best to check out the guide on making child arrangements on the UK government website.