Divorce is a significant life event that can be emotionally and legally complex. In the UK, making a sole divorce application is one path you can take to dissolve your marriage. This guide aims to demystify the process, offering you clear and concise information to help you understand your options and rights. With the innovative assistance of Contend, navigating your legal journey can be simpler and more accessible.

Understanding Sole Divorce Applications

A sole divorce application is when one spouse initiates the divorce process without the joint agreement initially required for filing. This route is particularly relevant if your partner is unresponsive or you both have irreconcilable differences that prevent a joint application.

The Grounds for Divorce

In the UK, to apply for a divorce, you must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the following five grounds:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behavior
  3. Desertion
  4. Living apart for more than two years (with agreement)
  5. Living apart for more than five years (without the need for agreement)

The Sole Application Process: Step by Step

  1. Filing the Application: The process begins with completing and submitting a divorce application form to the court. You’ll need to provide personal details about you and your spouse, your marriage, and the grounds for your divorce.
  2. Serving the Papers: Once the application is filed, the court will send a copy to your spouse, giving them a chance to respond. This is known as ‘serving the divorce papers.’ You can find more information on how to respond to a divorce or dissolution application on GOV.UK.
  3. Response from the Spouse: Your spouse has a set period to reply, where they can agree to the divorce or contest it. If they contest, you may need to attend a court hearing.
  4. Applying for a Decree Nisi: If your spouse agrees or if they fail to respond, you can apply for a decree nisi. This is a provisional decree of divorce issued by the court.
  5. Waiting Period: There’s a mandatory six-week waiting period after the decree nisi is granted before you can apply for a decree absolute, which formally ends the marriage.
  6. Decree Absolute: Applying for and receiving the decree absolute is the final step. Once issued, your marriage is officially dissolved.

For help with questions related to your issue, you can chat with one of Contend’s legal experts, and get immediate answers to your legal questions.

Financial Settlements and Child Arrangements

In addition to the divorce itself, you’ll need to consider financial settlements and child arrangements:

  • Financial Settlement: You and your spouse must agree on how to divide assets, debts, and pensions. If an agreement can’t be reached, the court may decide for you.

  • Child Arrangements: If you have children, deciding on custody, visitation rights, and child support is crucial. Like financial settlements, these can be mediated outside court or decided by a judge.

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How Contend Can Assist

Simplifying Legal Jargon

Contend’s AI legal experts can guide you through the complexities of a sole divorce application, breaking down legal terms into straightforward, understandable language.

Personalized Legal Guidance

Chat with Contend’s AI legal assistant to get customized advice based on your specific situation. Whether it’s understanding your rights or navigating the application process, Contend is here to support you.

Trusted Expertise

Built by lawyers and legal professionals, Contend offers reliable assistance, ensuring you’re getting accurate and up-to-date legal information.

Taking the Next Steps with Contend

If you’re considering a sole divorce application, it’s essential to arm yourself with knowledge and the right support. Contend’s innovative platform offers a unique blend of technology and legal expertise, making it easier for you to navigate your divorce.

By understanding the process, knowing your rights, and utilizing resources like Contend, you can approach your divorce with confidence. Remember, you’re not alone—Contend is here to guide you every step of the way.


A sole divorce application in the UK is a viable option for those looking to dissolve their marriage due to irreconcilable differences. While the process can seem daunting, understanding the steps involved and seeking the right support can make all the difference.

Contend is revolutionizing the way everyday people access legal services, offering a seamless, supportive, and user-friendly platform. For anyone facing the challenge of a sole divorce application, Contend provides the guidance and clarity needed to move forward.

Embark on your legal journey with confidence. Chat now with Contend’s legal expert and take the first step towards resolving your legal matters with ease.

You can click here to chat with one of Contend’s legal experts today.

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