In a hearing at London’s High Court which lasted less than a minute, District Judge Anne Aitken granted the couple a decree nisi -- the first legal step to ending their 10-year marriage.
Saatchi and Lawson now have to wait for a decree absolute, which is usually issued six weeks later, ending their marriage.
Their marriage came to an end when pictures published last month showed Saatchi holding his wife by the throat as they had an argument in a restaurant.
Photos: Sunny Deol with sons Karan and Rajvir at Mumbai airport
In pictures: A look at Anil Kumble's illustrious cricket career
Photos: Karisma Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Shraddha Kapoor at Mumbai airport
Spotted: Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh at Mumbai studio
Photos: Mallika Sherawat at a restaurant in Bandra