How to file for divorce
Filing for divorce can be done either yourself or through a solicitor.
The Divorce Club founders did both! Lucy filed hers through a solicitor, Isabelle filed hers herself.
Lucy: As soon as I went to the solicitors, I felt a weight come off my shoulders, a layer of admin I didn’t have to worry about because someone had my back for me. It was certainly not cheap but I knew that I wasn’t going to make any monumental mistakes and I didn’t have to suddenly become a legal expert – particularly as I was an emotional wreck at the time.
Isabelle: I filed my form myself and saved myself a lot of money in legal fees but perhaps would have got more if I had had an aggressive lawyer. However, it meant that it was over faster and with less arguing. The facts of my divorce were pretty straightforward and so I wasn’t afraid to do it myself. Plus I could always have sought legal help if the situation had changed. I made mistakes on the form, but it wasn’t the end of the world. The form just got sent back and I made amendments.
Points to know before you file for divorce:
- You must have been married for at least a year.
- You (or your partner) must be resident in the UK.
- You must have grounds for divorce (a valid reason). For more about grounds of divorce read this article, or watch this video.
Isabelle: How to File for Divorce yourself
- Work out which ground for divorce you are going to use.
- Get hold of a D8 divorce form here.
- Fill it out CAREFULLY – try not to make mistakes like me! But ultimately don’t worry if you do, correcting them is still a lot cheaper than a solictor. Then send it to your local court. To find your local court click here.
- Your spouse will have to sign to agree to the divorce.
- First step done. There are still a few more to go, but you’re on your way. For the next step go to “The Divorce Process”
Lucy: How to File for Divorce with a solicitor
- Find a good solicitor. Most people look for recommendations but I didn’t know anyone who was divorced so I looked on the Law Society’s search tool.
- Book in a time to see them. Some offer a free consultation – bonus. Mine didn’t but she was great so never mind.
- Check to see if you need to bring anything such as ID – your passport, proof of address etc. and dig it out. Write a list of questions if there is anything you want to ask. Don’t rely on your memory.
- Turn up. Don’t be late – you pay for their time whether you waste it or not.
- Your solicitor will file your divorce for you and advise you on next steps.
- Wait for bill.
Have we missed something? Tell us about how to file a divorce from your perspective in the comments or forum.
Lucy Davis is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and a TV Producer. She divorced 7 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for exploring the potential for change and creativity that can result from the trauma of divorce.