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Divorce Dictionary

Term Main definition

Divorce petition form.

Decree Absolute

Final stage of the divorce process, enabling the parties to re-marry.

Decree Nisi

Preliminary stage of the divorce process.

Deemed Service

Order by which the Court declares that service of the petition has been made on the respondent.

Defined Contact

Pattern of contact defined by a detailed schedule in order to eliminate the chances of misunderstanding and dispute.


Person who gives evidence by affidavit, affirmation or deposition.


One of the five facts that can be used as the basis for a divorce. Desertion refers to the situation where one spouse has abandoned the other spouse, often their whereabouts is unknown. It is one of the less common grounds for divorce.

Designated Family Centre (DFC)

Administrative hub to which initial applications are made and where hearings take place.


Instruction by a judge contained within an order for someone to do something.

Directions Appointment

Hearing at which the judge makes directions.


Costs charged by a solicitor to cover payments to third parties.


Process of revealing confidential documents and information to the Court and to other parties.

District Judge

Officer of the court who deals with applications to initiate children proceedings in which there is some complexity.

Divorce Centre

One of eleven regional centres which deal with divorce petitions.

DIY divorce

This is when you manage your own divorce. This typically means completing the court forms yourself and communicating with the court throughout the process - whether as the applicant or the respondent in a divorce.