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Divorce Petition (Form D8)

Applying for a divorce, dissolution or judicial separation can be a stressful and upsetting time. In this article, we provide information to help you understand what is included in a divorce petition (D8 form) to help you proceed with your divorce application as efficiently as possible.

How to apply for a divorce - D8 form guidance notes

Below we provide details of what is included in the D8 divorce form and the information you will need to provide about you and your partner in order to apply for a divorce with the courts.

What are the procedures to follow before filing for divorce?

If you would like to make an application for a divorce there are a number of steps you need to take in order to apply for a divorce. Applying for a divorce is also known as completing a divorce petition, and will require involvement from both you and your spouse. The application for a divorce, dissolution or (judicial) separation can be made using a D8 form.

Speak to a divorce lawyer if you are unsure of what to do.

What is a D8 divorce form?

A D8 form is the divorce petition which is the application form that you need to complete to apply for a divorce.  This document confirms who the parties to the marriage are and what fact is being relied upon in order to establish the ground for divorce.  There is only one ground for divorce, which is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  However, there are currently five facts to choose from in order to prove that the marriage has broken down – unreasonable behaviour, adultery, two years separation with consent, 5 years separation or desertion.

A D8 divorce application form requires you to provide certain information about yourself, your spouse and your marriage in order to proceed with a divorce. You will need to give details of yourself and your partner, such as current addresses, in order to progress your divorce to the next stage.

Where do I get a D8 divorce form from?

You can speak to a solicitor who will help you complete the form, apply for a divorce online, or download a D8 form from the website.

Who can file a divorce petition?

A divorce petition can be filed by someone who has been married for at least a year and who wishes to instigate divorce proceedings.  This can be done by themselves directly or by instructing a divorce solicitor.

To apply for a divorce you will need:

Before you apply for a divorce, you need to make sure that you have the following:

  • Your original marriage certificate, or a certified copy (and a certified translation if it is not in English);
  • Proof of your name change if you have changed it since you got married, such as a deed poll or change of name deed;
  • Your spouse’s full name and current address

In order to apply for a divorce, you will need to have been married for at least one year.

Helpful links

How to get divorced

How much does a divorce cost?

Do I have to put my address on divorce papers in the UK?

You will need to disclose your address and the address of your spouse in order to pursue a divorce application. If you do not know where your partner is currently living, you will need to find this out.

Where do I send my divorce petition?

If applying online, then there is no need to send the document anywhere.  It is a case of simply submitting the form on the website.  This is on the same link as set out above.

If sending the documents by post, then the application needs to be posted to your local divorce centre.  You will need to send your original marriage certificate along with three copies of the completed D8 form to the court.  It is important to remember that you will not get your original marriage certificate back – it will eventually be replaced by the Decree Absolute.

There is a court fee payable of £593*. If applying by post, then enclose a cheque made payable to “HMCTS”.  If applying online, payment can be made online.

*Court fee correct at the time of writing.

How do I complete a D8 divorce form?

The following sections are included in a D8 form:

Section 1: Application details

In this section, you will choose the type of application you wish to make, such as divorce, dissolution or (judicial separation). You will also need to confirm what supporting documents you are including – this is usually your marriage certificate and a translation, if applicable.

Sections 2 & 3: Provide details about you (The Petitioner) and the Respondent

If you are the person applying for a divorce, you are known as the Petitioner. Your spouse is the Respondent. In this section, you will need to enter your current details and the details of your spouse, which includes full names and current addresses. If you do not wish your spouse to know where you are currently living, then you can opt to keep your details confidential by completing a separate form (known as a C8) if applying by post, or ticking the appropriate box if applying online.

If either you or your spouse have a solicitor acting on your/their behalf, then their details will be entered into this section also.

Section 4: Provide details of your marriage or civil partnership

You will also need to provide details of your marriage or civil partnership, exactly as they are shown on your marriage certificate. Attach the certified copy of your marriage certificate / civil partnership along with any additional documents regarding a change of name or a translation of your marriage certificate (if applicable).

Section 5: Jurisdiction

The court will need to understand why you think that the court has jurisdiction (legal power)  to deal with your case and there are a number of options to choose from. The most common option is that either you, your spouse, or both of you are habitually resident in England or Wales. You are habitually resident in a country if it is where you live and work.

Section 6: The reason for your divorce or dissolution

You must cite one of the following reasons to support the fact your marriage can no longer carry on, nor is a reconciliation possible. There are five facts (or reasons) for divorce, which are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separated for 2 years with consent
  • Separated for 5 years

Read more about the grounds for divorce here.

Section 7: Additional information to support the case

Additional information will need to be provided depending on which fact (or reason) you choose.

Section 8: Additional information for Adultery Cases only

Often people choose not to name the person their spouse has committed adultery with. However, if you have named them in section 7 (as a co-respondent) then you must provide their details so that a copy of this petition can be sent to them. If you did not name them, you do not need to fill in these details.

Section 9: Details of any existing court cases

You will need to provide details of any court proceedings that are currently ongoing, such as court cases regarding child arrangements or non-molestation orders.

Section 10: Dividing your money and property

If you disagree with your spouse about how your assets will be split, then you can ask the court to decide for you. The types of financial orders that the court can make include:

  • an order for maintenance pending suit/outcome
  • periodical payments order
  • secured provision order
  • lump sum order
  • property adjustment order
  • pension sharing/ compensation sharing/ attachment order

These orders are called ‘financial orders’. You can apply for financial orders for yourself, and/or your children (if appropriate).

If you have reached an agreement with your spouse on how your assets will be split, then it is advisable to make this agreement legally binding by applying for a financial order to be made by consent.

Section 11: Summary of what is being applied for and the truth

The divorce petition is then completed by confirming whether you wish to make a claim for the divorce costs against your spouse, and signing a statement of truth, which confirms that the information provided in the divorce petition is correct and true.

How happens after you submit an application for divorce or dissolution?

Once you have submitted your D8 divorce form, your application will be checked. This can take up to 10 days if you apply online or longer if you apply by post. Your spouse will also need to respond to the divorce application by returning the Acknowledgement of Service to the court.

What happens after a divorce petition is filed?

Once the divorce petition is filed, the court will check it and then stamp it to show that it has been approved. A copy will then be sent to you (or your solicitor) and also to your spouse.  This will either be online or by post depending on how you applied.  The Respondent (your spouse) will then be required to respond to the petition and confirm whether they consent to the divorce progressing (by completing an Acknowledgement of Service).  Once the court has this response, you (as the Petitioner) will be able to apply to the court for the first stage of divorce, the Decree Nisi.

If your spouse intends to defend the divorce, then it is at this stage that they declare this. They will either agree with the divorce, state their intention to defend it, or object to paying costs if you have made a claim for them to do so. If your spouse ignores the divorce petition, then you may have to arrange for a copy of the divorce petition to be personally served on them so that you have official confirmation that they have received it.

You will apply for a Decree Nisi following this step.

Is it better to be the Petitioner or the Respondent?

There are pros and cons to both.  If you are the Petitioner, then you are in control of the speed of the divorce.  If you want the application to go through quickly, then you have more control of that.  It is also advisable not to finalise the divorce until the finances have been agreed upon or ordered by the Court and a sealed order obtained.  There are also potentially issues surrounding survivorship and pension claims which is why we would always recommend speaking to a family lawyer first. If you divorce before sorting your financial claims, and one of you were to pass away, then this could impact any claim you may have had on your former spouse’s pension.

The pros of being the Respondent are that you are likely to have less work to do. You only need to complete one form and the bulk of work is undertaken by the Petitioner.  This could save on legal fees.  Just be aware that the Petitioner can ask for a contribution towards costs from the Respondent.  We advise trying to agree to the costs position in advance.

What to do if the Respondent is not responding to the divorce petition

This really depends on what fact you relied upon in the petition.  In all circumstances the court requires proof of service of the documents – that is they need evidence that the Respondent has received the documents.  Some of the facts, however, also necessitate a response.  For example, a petition based upon 2 years separation by consent requires the Respondent to confirm their consent.  Similarly, adultery usually requires an admission.  Without engagement from the Respondent, it may not be possible to proceed to the next stage.

So what do you do?  You can progress an unreasonable behaviour petition and a 5 years separation divorce petition as these do not require the Respondent’s consent.  You simply need to prove to the court that your spouse has seen them.  This is done by instructing a court bailiff or process server to serve the Respondent with the papers – this means physically hand them over.  This will then enable you to apply for the next stage of the divorce, the Decree Nisi.

If you are looking for legal advice from a divorce specialist, contact Hawkins Family Law today. We specialise in divorce law and will be able to advise and guide you through the divorce process to make it as peaceful as possible.

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