How to Get a Quick Divorce Without a Solicitor

By March 5, 2018
signing of divorce papers

Getting a divorce doesn’t have to be confusing, expensive or long-winded.

It also, in most cases, doesn’t require a solicitor.

The problem is, most people don’t know how to get a divorce without hiring a solicitor, which makes the divorce process longer, more expensive and in most cases more stressful than it needs to be.

This article will outline the exact steps you can follow to get a divorce without hiring a solicitor.

We’ll walk you through the divorce process you’ll need to follow, step-by-step, the grounds for divorce options you can use to file for divorce & other important information such as how long your divorce will take and cost.

Do not be put off filing for divorce yourself, it’s actually a lot quicker and easier than people think.

You’ll find that getting a divorce is largely just an administrative process and if you can complete the divorce paperwork without errors, your divorce will be granted without any hiccups.

We’ve helped over 100,000 people get a divorce without hiring a solicitor – Call us on 01793 384 032 to find out how we can help you!

1) First Steps to Divorce

Before initiating divorce proceedings against your spouse, you need to do some initial research to find out whether you are eligible to file for divorce

To get a divorce you’ll need to ensure that you;

  • Have been married for at least 12 months.
  • Have valid grounds for divorce.
  • See England or Wales as your permanent home, or be domiciled in England or Wales if you live abroad.

You do not want to start divorce proceedings with an online divorce or solicitor to find out that you aren’t able to proceed any further.

The final first step we would suggest is to make yourself familiar with the divorce petition form, which is the main document in a divorce.

You should look to see what information is required from you so that when it comes to completing it you have all the necessary information you need, e.g. your marriage certificate or at least a copy of it. 

2) The Grounds For a Divorce

In order to start a divorce in England or Wales, you must prove to the judge that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of the divorce grounds for divorce.

We’ll briefly explore each of the 5 grounds in this article, but if you are unsure which one is likely to suit your situation, you should read about them in more depth by reading our full explanation of each ground for divorce.

Unreasonable Behaviour

We’ll start with unreasonable behaviour because it’s the most commonly used ground for divorce in England and Wales.

As we don’t have a no-fault divorce system in the UK, people are driven to use unreasonable behaviour, which makes for needless stress and acrimony.

If you haven’t been separated for 2 years or your spouse won’t consent to the divorce, you’ll need to wait 5 years before you can file without the consent of your spouse.

This leads people into filing for divorce using unreasonable behaviour.

It’s not as scary as it sounds, so don’t be afraid. We’ve put together a list of examples of unreasonable behaviour to show you common behaviours that spouse’s use to get a divorce.

2 Years & 5 Years Separation

If you have been separated for 2 years and your ex-partner agrees to sign the paperwork, you can use this ground to file for divorce.

If you’ve lived apart for 5 years then consent from your spouse is not required.


The law surrounding adultery hasn’t been updated in 40+ years, meaning that adultery can only be used as a ground for divorce if your partner cheated on you with a person of the opposite sex.

To petition for divorce using adultery, your ex-partner will need to admit to the adultery taking place by replying to a response form sent by the court.

If the admission of adultery isn’t likely, using unreasonable behaviour is the most suitable alternative.


Desertion is the least used ground for divorce.

To get a divorce using desertion, one party must have ‘deserted’ the other for a continuous period of 2 years.

3) Filing The Divorce Petition

The D8 form should be completed and checked for accuracy before being sent to court to start divorce proceedings.

Accompanying your D8 divorce petition should be your original marriage certificate (or an official copy obtained from the courts). This must also be translated into English if you were married abroad.

At this stage, you will be expected to make the court fee payment of £550 unless you are on a low-income or receive certain benefits.

If you require more advice or information on court fees, you can call us for free on 01793 384 032.

4) Acknowledgement Of Service

The respondent (your ex-partner), must now acknowledge receipt of the divorce petition by completing and sending back the acknowledgement of service form that was sent to them by the courts.

The respondent is meant to complete and send this form back within 7 days.

5) Financial Considerations

On the divorce petition, you’ll be asked if you want to make a financial claim, which is where most people start panicking.

Following the instructions in this article, you’ll be able to get a divorce without needing to hire a solicitor, but financial considerations will in most cases require professional advice.

This, however, does not need to cost you thousands. OLS Solicitors provide affordable legal advice for £99, which will give you the legal advice you may need in order to make legally sound financial decisions.

It’s really important that issues surrounding money, assets and children are dealt with properly by obtaining a court order, such as a consent order or indeed a clean break order.

This step is actually the most overlooked and that can quite dangerous. Most people will assume that they either don’t need a court order or that they are really expensive so won’t bother; both of those statements are in fact incorrect.

Without obtaining a court order, you will still be financially tied to your ex-partner, even years after being divorced, so please don’t overlook this step.

6) Decree Nisi (Application & Pronouncement)

At this stage, the court will send you (the petitioner) a copy of your spouse’s acknowledgement of service form.

You’ll then need to make a further application to the court, this time it’s something called ‘decree nisi’.

The decree nisi stage is where the courts effectively say that they are happy with your paperwork, your grounds for divorce and everything can proceed.

You must now wait for the decree nisi to become pronounced, which then gives you the green light to apply for your decree absolute and finalise your divorce.

7) Decree Absolute (Final Step)

After 6 weeks and a day from your decree nisi pronouncement date, you are entitled to apply for your decree absolute.

You will be granted with the decree absolute document, which formally ends your marriage.

You are now officially and legally divorced without the help or assistance of a solicitor.

How long will it take to get a divorce?

In the years gone by, divorce cases were regularly being processed within 3-4 months.

In recent times, more specifically from 2016 onwards, divorce cases have been taking considerably longer, 5-6 months, mainly due to the Government change in how divorce cases were filed.

Before this change, you were permitted to file your divorce at any court in England or Wales, they’ve now consolidated the courts down to 6 and are called ‘regional divorce centres’.

Here at Quicke Divorce, our average timescale for clients this year is 16-18 weeks, making us a faster and more efficient options for people looking for a quick divorce.

Divorce does not need to drag on, so why not find out how long a divorce takes with us.

How much is divorce likely to cost?

The cost of your divorce really depends on a few things, but it could cost you less than £300 (excluding court fees).

If you can come to an agreement on both the divorce and financial matters, you could spend less than £1,000 obtaining a divorce and financial order.

If there isn’t agreement on finances and children, your divorce bill could run into the thousands.

Divorce can be a minefield in terms of finances, so we’d recommend reading our detailed article on how much a divorce costs.

Final Thoughts

We hope that from reading this article you have enough knowledge and confidence to get a divorce without needing to hire a solicitor.

If you aren’t comfortable doing the divorce yourself but don’t want to hire a solicitor, you should check out our DIY Divorce Service for £59 fixed fee.

Try to keep your divorce as amicable as possible as it can keep the cost of your divorce right down as well as reducing the amount of acrimony throughout.

Contact us now on 01793 384 032 and speak to our divorce advisors to see how we can help you get a divorce without hiring a solicitor and save you hundreds.

If you would prefer to receive detailed information via email, you can email us today or leave a comment below regarding your situation and we’ll get back to you.


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