A Divorce petition can be difficult legal document to deal with. With news that divorce rates peak after the summer and Christmas holidays, it seems that now is the time that many people, unhappy in their relationships, might be starting to think about filing for divorce.
A divorce petition is one of the first legal documents in the divorce process. Written by the petitioner and then sent on to the respondent through a Divorce Centre, a petition signals the beginning of the official divorce process – and it’s important to get it right. If you want to avoid any unnecessary delays at this stage of the divorce process, there are some things you should pay real attention to.
Last year, Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) reported that 40% of petitions are returned because of errors. Understanding the common pitfalls and filling in the petition correctly first time means that your workload isn’t added to in an already stressful and emotional time.
Top 10 reasons divorce petitions are returned:
- Not enclosing the correct fee. It’s a simple one but make sure you remember to pay.
- Details in Part 2 not all filled in properly – make sure yours and your spouse’s names match what’s written on your marriage certificate and that the place and date you got married is fully filled in.
- Part 3 isn’t filled in properly – make sure part 3 (Jurisdiction) is filled in fully and accurately
- Part 4, regarding other proceedings or arrangements, is not fully filled in – make sure you fill this part in completely.
- Too many grounds for divorce in part 5 are ticked – or the grounds for divorce don’t match what’s said in the statement in part 6. Ensure that you only select one ground for divorce and that your statement matches this.
- Make sure your statement (part 6) fully explains the details and grounds upon which you’re filing for divorce. Forms are often returned because this part isn’t filled in with sufficient detail.
- Original marriage certificate not included with the petition – make sure that you include the original, not a photocopy, of your marriage certificate with the petition.
- No certificate of reconciliation received from your solicitor – make sure that this is sent with your petition.
- No fee remission contribution received. If you’re entitled to a reduced fee, make sure you send a fee remission contribution with your petition.
- No address for service of the petition to your spouse. It’s important to include your spouse’s address on the petition otherwise the petition will not be able to be sent to them.
Avoiding these common errors when filling in the forms for your divorce petition can save you a great deal of time. If a petition has to be returned to you for alterations or additions, the process can take several months, eating into valuable time when you could be moving towards finalising your divorce.
Should you be contemplating completing your divorce petition yourself, we would advise you to speak to one of our expert divorce lawyers to avoid any of the common errors and resultant delays.
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