Manage your own divorce inexpensively
Each pack contains all the forms and documents you need to manage your own undefended divorce specifying one of the five reasons which justifies your divorce according to law.
Each form comes in two file formats: the official, latest government form in PDF and a Net Lawman version of the same form in Microsoft Word (DocX). You choose which to use depending on whether you prefer to complete the form on the computer, or print it out and complete it by hand.
Each form also comes with guidance notes so that you can be confident that you will complete each correctly. We also provide completed examples of many of the forms.
Our documents were last revised after coming into force of Family Procedure Rules 2010 in 2014.
What we include in each pack of papers
D8 divorce petition form
Example petition letter to court to start proceedings
D80 form for application for decree nisi (citing your chosen reason for divorce)
D84 application form for decree nisi
Petition letter to court to start proceedings
Example letter to court re decree nisi
D36 application for decree absolute
EX160 court fee remission calculator
Example letter to court re decree absolute
Completed examples of all forms
A D8 form is known as a divorce petition and is a means of beginning divorce proceedings. You do not both have to agree to the divorce to use this form. Which version of the form you use depends on which of the reasons you want to pursue the divorce on.
A D80 form should be used by petitioners to apply for the first decree in divorce proceedings. Use this application form when you have received a copy of your husband’s or wife’s acknowledgement of service form from the court, stating he or she is not defending the divorce.
The D36 form allows the petitioner (the person who started divorce proceedings) to apply for decree absolute - the last stage of the divorce process.
The D11 form allows the respondent (the person who did not start divorce proceedings) to apply for decree absolute - the last stage of the divorce process.
The FM1 Form is the Family Mediation Information and Assessment Form, used in connection with family proceedings according to Family Procedure Rules 2010.
Are you exempt from paying court fees?
Each pack includes a court fee exemption calculator. If you are on a low income, you may either be completely exempt from paying fees or have to pay a contribution to the fee rather than the full amount.
If you qualify for a fee exemption you should also complete form EX160 (included in each set) and send it along with the relevant supporting evidence to the court.
An important note about your will
When you married, your old will, if you had one, became void. When you divorce, this does not happen - your will remains as it was, and it is likely that you main beneficiary remains your ex-wife, husband or partner.
If you want to update your will, Net Lawman provides a number of templates including simpler ones for free and lots of information on our site. See our collection of last will and testament templates and our articles on writing a will.
Grounds for divorce
You can only divorce if you have a valid reason recognised by law. The forms you use depend on which ground you petition your divorce on.
The grounds accepted are:
Separation for at least two years and both husband and wife agree to the divorce
This is a popular choice by couples who wish to have a relatively amicable split, perhaps because of children or sizeable assets.
Note that in using this ground, any assets acquired whilst you have been separated are considered in the division of assets for the divorce.
Separation for at least five years
Again, this is often used as a ground by couples who wish to have a relatively amicable split. It can also used in situations where a previous petition on another ground failed, and since that time, you and your spouse have lived apart.
Unreasonable behaviour means that the behaviour of your spouse is or has been so poor, that it is unreasonable that you should be expected to remain married.
Although this sounds a rather catch-all way of obtaining an instant divorce, the Courts have imposed a strict test if you wish to petition on this ground:
there must have been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; and
the non-petitioning party must have acted in such an unreasonable manner the petitioning party can no longer tolerate living with them
If you are unable to meet all these conditions, you need to consider an alternative ground for divorce. Often adultery is used as an alternative, but this also has restrictions.
Great care should be taken when drafting the petition citing unreasonable behaviour. Your allegations have to be strong enough to persuade the Court that the behaviour has been unreasonable, but they should not be an attack on the other side. We recommend that you keep the wording factual, specific and objective.
In many cases, the judgment will be based on the particular effect the behaviour on the other. If the effect is mild (irritation, annoyance, boredom) it will not be sufficient. If the effect is more dramatic and this was clear to your partner when it happened, it may well be sufficient.
This ground can be used if your husband or wife has had sex with someone else either in a single encounter or in another relationship outside of the marriage.
There are restrictions on divorce on the grounds of adultery. The following conditions must all be satisfied for this ground to be used:
the person starting proceedings must be the person who has not been adulterous
the extra martial sexual relationship must have been with someone of the opposite gender
you must be able to prove that sexual relations have taken place
the petition must be started within 6 months of the adultery. To clarify further, that is not within 6 months of you becoming aware, but of the act of sex outside of marriage. That means that you should lodge this form with the court no more than five and a half months after the event
If you are unable to meet all these conditions, you need to consider an alternative ground for divorce. Often unreasonable behaviour is used as an alternative, but this also has restrictions.
Also note that while it may seem gratifying to name the person with whom your spouse had sex in your court petition, if you do so that person will become a party to the divorce, which is likely to delay the process.
Desertion means that your spouse has intentionally walked out of the marriage for good.
Today, this is an uncommon ground on which to divorce. It requires you to prove the intention never to return, thus, a petition based on two years separation and consent or five years separation is often an easy alternative.
How the forms fit into the divorce process
Our guidance notes tell you how to complete each form and what to do with each. We also have an article that sets out the timetable for divorce.
There are three stages of three stages in the process of divorce – the petition, the decree nisi and the decree absolute.
In short, the process is:
Complete a divorce petition (D8 form). Send it and the following to any County Court that deals with divorce. You can find your nearest using our courts database.
two copies of the form
your marriage certificate (or a copy from a registry office)
a cover letter to your nearest county court
Remember also to keep a copy of the papers yourself.
Within 14 days, if your petition is accepted, the Court will assign your case a reference number and notify you by post. The Court will also send one copy of the petition and the statement of arrangements to your husband or wife together with an acknowledgment of service form.
They will also send copies to the person with whom he or she has been adulterous, if you use that reason for divorce and if you name that person in the form (another reason not to do so).
Your husband or wife should acknowledge service by returning the form to the court. The court will send a copy of the acknowledgment of service form to you.
You then complete one of the versions of Form D80 and swear the affidavit. You send the form to the court.
The court will arrange a date for your decree nisi and sent you a note with that date.
Once your decree nisi is pronounced and you have been sent a copy, you can submit a consent order about your finances to the court.
The petitioner can apply for the divorce to be made final (absolute) 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of the decree nisi using a D36 form. If you are the respondent, you must wait an additional 3 months until you can apply using Form D11.
Send the appropriate form to the Court. You will also need to pay the Court filing fee of £90.
After approximately two weeks, the Court will make the decree nisi absolute and send you a copy. If you have submitted a consent order, they may also make that and send it to you.
You are then fully divorced and free to remarry should you wish.