If you don’t know where your spouse is, then provided you have made attempts to contact him, there is a process for doing that where the service of documents is dispensed with:
the government to the rescue again with a website on that subject: https://www.gov.uk/divorce-missing-husband-wife
If you know where your spouse is but he won’t sign the papers, then you can make an application court for Deemed Service of the papers provided you can prove he’s had them and is just ignoring them.
Here is an article on the subject:
In order to make attempts to contact him you would need to put a notice in the London Gazette, local newspaper and also come up with a report from a tracing agent which said they couldn’t find him:
You can always use a tracing agent such as this http://www.ccsformations.co.uk/Tracing-25-c.html who will do no find no fee for solicitors for GBP50 plus VAT although if you are a private individual they want payment upfront.
They also do international searches for GBP150 plus VAT but that is not no win no fee.
We have used the firm on numerous occasions and found the service excellent.
There is another one called Find UK People who I have had clients use, but I have no experience of them myself.
they provide a whole load of different services. https://www.findukpeople.com/online-store/
From 6 April 2022, in the UK we now have “no fault” divorce where there is no need to apportion blame.
Provided that at least one of the people wishing to get divorced lives in England, then getting divorced in England (& Wales) is infinitely a do-it-yourself job. (I am not familiar with the system in Scotland)
Save yourself a whole load of money: the government website have a do-it-yourself guide
Although you can agree finances between you, it doesn’t draw a line under it unless you have a financial order
And if have children under 18, and you cannot agree who they live with and who sees who and when, then you need a child arrangement order (which includes Specific Issue Orders:
To confirm that something can happen
and a Prohibited Steps Orders
To stop something happening
It doesn’t matter who divorces who or why, the financial issues are exactly the same. The court has not apportioned blame with regard to the division of marital finances for many years.
The only grounds for getting divorced used to be (all now changed of course)
1 Living apart from 2 years if they both agree.
2 living apart the 5 years regardless of consent.
5 Unreasonable behaviour.
Please note that a legal separation is not the first step or precursor to a divorce. It is virtually the same process but it doesn't dissolve the marriage. However it draws a line under the relationship formally. The difference between a legal separation and divorce is basically that you cannot get remarried again. The reason you would have a legal separation, rather than a divorce is you can get divorced, for religious reasons for example.
From 6 April, the divorce petition form D8 has changed and here it is:
It is the same form to dissolve a civil partnership.
You need to bear in mind that this process is brand-new for the time being and were not certain how it’s going to work.
The majority of the form is just filling in personal details and as they are the details that you would have to give to a solicitor, to be frank, you may as well complete the form yourself and save a whole load of money.
There is nothing difficult in the form and although it’s 20 pages, it is not crammed with questions. You can complete it in about 15 minutes.
At present to the court fee is GBP595.
The full list of court fees are here:
there is very little legal aid available now except in very few categories but if you are on benefits or low-income, you may get help with or not have to pay the fees. Details are here:
And the fee remission is referred to on page 19 of the form.
Be careful with the addresses. If you are not having fee remission goes to the Bury St Edmunds address along with the cheque, on the back page of the form.
If you are applying for fee remission goes to the Harlow address.
At least, that’s how I interpret page 20. It remains to be seen because that page is extremely vague
An application for a financial order goes to your local court.