In this article, we’ll explain what the divorce petition is and how to file it.
The divorce petition is essentially a divorce application. In order to start the divorce process, one spouse must complete and file the divorce petition.
As long as everything is correct on the form, the divorce petition is then sent out to the other spouse.
The person who files the divorce petition is known as the petitioner. The other spouse is known as the respondent.
You will need to have been married for one year or more in order to file a divorce petition. It is not possible to get a divorce if you have been married for less than one year.
You will need to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.
There are five grounds – or reasons – for divorce:
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Separation for 2 years or more (with consent from the other party)
• Separation for 5 years or more (no consent necessary)
You will need to give one or more of these reasons.
Your solicitor should be able to advise you which grounds for divorce are most suitable for your circumstances.
Yes, a divorce petition can be withdrawn and the divorce stopped at any point before the decree absolute.
Yes, divorce petitions can be returned. Usually, this happens due to errors or omissions on the divorce petition.
For example, a divorce petition can be rejected if a marriage certificate has not been included. Equally, if there are any mistakes on the form itself, such as an incorrect place of marriage, this can also cause a divorce petition to be rejected.
A divorce petition being returned can slow down the divorce process. Getting a solicitor to check over your divorce petition or help you complete the form, can help to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays to the process caused by mistakes on the divorce petition.
You can apply for a divorce online or via the post.
There is a £550 fee to apply for a divorce.
Your divorce petition will be checked and if it is correct, you will be sent a case number, a copy of your divorce petition stamped by the divorce centre and a notice that your divorce petition has been issued.
Your spouse will be sent the divorce petition and an acknowledgement or service form. They will then need to respond to your petition, stating whether they agree with the divorce or not. The next step, all being well, is the decree nisi.
It is vital that your divorce petition is completed correctly or your divorce may be delayed. You will need to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, otherwise you may not be able to get a divorce.
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.
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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