At MannBenham we understand that when your marriage breaks down it can be a highly emotional and difficult time for you and your family. At the same time you may also find yourself needing to navigate through divorce proceedings which can be a very daunting task.

But, it doesn’t need to be. Our Advocates are on hand to help you every step of the way and our quick bitesize guide to the divorce procedure may help you understand the process that lies ahead a little better.

Initial Application
Whether you wish to apply for a divorce or have received a divorce application against you, you or your spouse must be able to prove one of the grounds to say the marriage has broken down irretrievably:

1. Adultery
2. Unreasonable behaviour
3. Desertion for at least two years
4. Separation for a period of at least two years with your spouse consenting to a divorce
5. Five years separation without the need for your spouse’s consent

Once your application is ready this is sent to the Court with the original, or a certified copy, of your marriage certificate and payment of the court fee (currently £280.50).

The Response
The Court will process the application and send a copy directly to your spouse. They are asked to complete an Acknowledgement of Service Form on which they will indicate whether they intend to accept or defend the divorce. If they fail to respond there are procedures available to progress the proceedings.

Provisional Decree
As long as there is no indication from your spouse that they intend to defend the proceedings within their Acknowledgment of Service you may then apply for your Provisional Decree of Divorce. At this stage the Deemster will consider the documents before the Court and if approved you will be informed of the date for the pronouncement of your provisional decree. The Provisional Decree is NOT the final divorce order and does not dissolve the marriage. You remain married to your spouse until the final divorce order is made.

It is generally at this stage of proceedings that we would begin to deal with the finances of the marriage and any other issues that may need to be addressed. It is usual for the disclosure process to take place at this point which requires both parties to provide full details of all assets and liabilities held by them, either solely or jointly with anyone. Negotiations would then be entered into regarding how the same should be divided. Any settlement reached is usually consolidated within a Court order. If an agreement cannot be reached at this stage, it may be that an application for financial provision needs to be issued to the Court.

Final Divorce Order
The party who issued the Initial Application is able to apply for the Final Divorce Order six weeks and one day after the date of the Provisional Decree. However, it is advisable not to apply for this until financial matters have been settled. It is not until the Final Divorce Order is pronounced that the marriage is legally dissolved.

Our dedicated team of Family Advocates are able available to advise on all aspects of divorce and other issues you may be facing including separation, children issues or financial matters. Contact the office on 01624 639350 for a free initial consultation to see how we can help you.