What is a D8 Form?

With changes in legislation coming into force, and the introduction of a ‘no fault’ plea, getting a divorce just became a lot easier. However, there are still a number of steps involved in applying for a divorce.

One of these steps is the completion of a D8 form, a requirement for filing for divorce in England and Wales. As the D8 form holds huge weight in the divorce process, it’s important that you’re informed about what it entails. Here we look to guide you through where to locate a D8 form, where it should be sent, as well as some tips on how to complete it.

Do I need a D8 form?

Anyone seeking a divorce in England or Wales will need to fill in a D8 form in order to begin proceedings. The information you provide on the form will be used to determine whether or not you can legally end your marriage or civil partnership. For this reason, it’s imperative that you are fully aware of what the D8 form includes and know how best to approach it.

How do I get a D8 form?

The D8 form can be downloaded from GOV UK. The form is available in an online format, a format for printing and completing by hand, in Welsh and, if required, can be available in more accessible formats.

Where do I send my D8 form?

Your completed D8 form must be sent to your local divorce centre, which can be found using the government’s Court and Tribunal Finder.

Once you have located your nearest divorce centre, you must send them the following in order to file for divorce:

  • 3 copies of your filled in Form D8
  • Either an original or certified copy of your marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • A court fee of £593

If you have a low income and limited savings, then you may be eligible for help with court fees.

What is in the D8 form?

The information on a D8 form is used for a court to decide if you are permitted to legally terminate your marriage or civil partnership. You can choose to apply as a sole applicant, or a joint application with your spouse or civil partner. If you apply as a sole applicant, your spouse or civil partner will receive a copy of your D8 form.

The form has 10 sections. Some sections focus on basic information about you and your partner, such as your address and the address of your spouse. Other sections are more challenging to complete, asking for details about how your assets and property will be divided.

No fault divorce

On 6 April 2022, no fault divorce was established in England and Wales. This is one of a number of changes to UK divorce law made by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

No fault divorce permits couples to end their marriage or civil partnership without needing to cite blame for the deterioration of the marriage or partnership. It also eliminated the possibility of one spouse/partner contesting the divorce, which can significantly drag out proceedings.

These changes to UK divorce law have dramatically simplified the process of getting a divorce in England and Wales, and has resulted in the effective removal of sections integral to the former D8 form, including ‘grounds for divorce’.

Tips for completing a D8 form

Below is a summary of all 10 sections of the D8 form, with tips on how to complete them effectively.

Section 1: Applicant details

Here you will indicate which type of application you intend to make, i.e., a divorce or a dissolution.

In the past, you could also apply for a judicial separation in the standard D8 form. A judicial separation involves enforcing spouses to live apart and keep their assets separate, while still remaining legally married. However, now you must fill in a distinct separation application.

In this section, you will also indicate what supporting documents you are including. This is typically a marriage certificate, and a translation if required. While you are allowed to include certified copies of these documents, simple photocopies are not permitted.

Sections 2 & 3: Details about petitioner and respondent (i.e. individual filing for divorce and their spouse)

This includes the full address of both you and your spouse, as well as full names and other contact information and that of any solicitors involved in the case.

Section 4: Details about the marriage or civil partnership

This is the information which can be found on your marriage certificate, as well as documents showing a change of name. You will also indicate here whether the marriage took place outside of the UK. 

Note that the date of your marriage or civil partnership must be at least a year prior to a divorce application. In other words, you must have been married or in a civil partnership for at least a year before you can pursue a divorce.

This section will require you to have your marriage/civil partnership certificate (or a certified copy) to hand. If you are applying without this certificate, you will need to make a separate application on form D11 (Application notice) and pay another court fee.

Section 5: Jurisdiction

This is where you will justify why you believe the court has the legal power to handle your case. For example, common justifications include: you are both residents of either England or Wales and live and work in the country. Typically, only one applicant needs to be a resident or domiciled in England or Wales.

Section 6: Statement of irretrievable breakdown (the legal reason for your divorce or dissolution)

Here you must confirm that your marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.

Section 7: Existing or previous court cases

In this section, you must indicate and give details of any other court proceedings relating to your marriage/civil partnership. This includes any existing or concluded court proceedings overseas.

Section 8: Dividing your money and property - Orders which are sought

Here you will indicate how you would like to divide your money and property.

This is done by signalling which financial orders you wish to seek, i.e. how your money, property, pensions and other assets are to be split. These include:

  • An order for maintenance pending outcome
  • Periodical payments order
  • Secured provision order
  • Lump sum order
  • Property adjustment order
  • Pension sharing/compensation sharing/attachment order

You can apply for orders for yourself and for your children. If you and your spouse or civil partner agree on how to split your property, money, and assets, and you would like it to be legally binding, you can apply for a financial order to be made by consent. If you and your spouse or civil partner disagree, however, then you can request the court decide for you.

Section 9: Summary of what is being applied for (the prayer)

In this section you will confirm that you wish to pursue a dissolution of the marriage/civil partnership. You will also confirm whether you are seeking a financial order for yourself (applicant 1), your spouse or civil partner (applicant 2), and/or for your children.

Section 10: Plans for dividing money and property

In the final section, you will confirm the truth and validity of statements made in the application. An authorised legal representative can also sign here on you/your spouse or civil partner’s behalf.

Court fee

Finally, you will provide information concerning payment of the court fee. This includes the court fee amount (£593 at the time of writing), or indication as to why you are not including payment. Note that the fee can only be paid by cheque or debit/credit card over the phone.

If you cannot afford to pay, you can apply for help with court and tribunal fees online at help with court and tribunal fees, or through the EX160 Apply for help with fees form.

Once you have completed the form to your — and your solicitor’s — satisfaction, you can then send three copies, plus any relevant documents, to your local divorce centre.

What happens after you have sent your D8 form?

After submitting your D8 form, the application will be checked. This typically takes up to 10 days online, but may take longer if sent by post. If it’s correct, you’ll both be sent:

  • a notice that your application has been issued
  • a copy of your application stamped by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
  • an ‘acknowledge receipt’
  • a case number

If you applied as a sole applicant, your spouse or civil partner will also be required to acknowledge receipt of the D8 form by returning the Acknowledgement of Service to the court.

After 20 weeks, after receiving confirmation that the applicant/applicants wish to go ahead, the Conditional Order will be made by the court.

6 weeks following this, the Final Order will be made.

Why it’s important to engage with a financial adviser early

If both parties are amenable, engaging the services of a financial adviser at the start of the divorce process can help ensure that any tax planning opportunities available to married couples prior to divorce are used.

This is particularly important for assets that are subject to a potential Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability when you sell them.

Frustratingly a financial adviser is usually engaged once a settlement has been agreed at which point it can be too late to carry out some of the crucial planning needed to avoid both of you paying unnecessary taxes or providing a longer-lasting maintenance order.

How can we help?

Ending a marriage or civil partnership can impact your financial situation, goals and future. Reflecting on and deciding upon new financial objectives remains important but can be difficult in light of changing personal circumstances. Seeking out a financial advisor can therefore be a huge help, and at The Private Office we offer a range of services to help assist you in financial matters.

For help on this matter download our guide or get in touch with an adviser to arrange a free no obligation consultation. We are also able to work in tandem with your solicitor. It should be noted that failing to formally instruct a solicitor can prove a false economy.