When you have made the decision to divorce your partner or your partner makes the decision for you, there is a lot of confusion and worry about how your life will change and how the process works. Arming yourself with a little knowledge about the situation you are in can greatly reduce your stress levels and alleviate the feeling of helplessness many people experience. Obtaining the answer to some simple questions often saves you the time and effort of running through things over and over with your divorce lawyer. The time spent covering various aspects of your personal life can be excruciating without prolonging the experience. Here are some common questions that need answering before a divorce can take place in the courts of England and Wales.
Where are both parties resident or domiciled?
To simplify the answer, both you and your partner should be domiciled (live permanently) in England or Wales at the time of the petition for the courts of these countries to hear a petition for divorce. You can also start a petition for divorce if you have lived in the country for at least a year or you have nominated England or Wales as your country of domicile and lived in either one for at least six months.
How Do I Petition the Court?
Either partner can petition for divorce by completing Form D8 and returning the form to the courts. Use Form D8a If there are children involved.
What Makes for a Successful Petition?
A divorce is granted when the marriage has no chance of recovery. There are some situations that are almost always a valid reason for divorce, these are:
- Unacceptable Behaviour
- The other spouse has deserted for a period of two years
- There has been a separation for five or more years without the consent of the other spouse
- There has been a separation for two years with the consent of each spouse
A Form DH9 is sent to all parties involved in the divorce when the petition is filed and this includes the person who facilitates the adultery even though the name of the person is not required for the petition. The petitioner will also have a copy of the form DH9 although it is the respondent (the other spouse), who is required to provide a response indicating their agreement or disagreement to the proceedings and if they intend to dispute anything. The respondent does this with a form D10 and should do so within eight days, although if they fail to respond within 29 days a petitioner can ask the court for directions to trial.
A Lack of Response
If neither the respondent nor co-respondent (the party to adultery) responds, the petitioner can apply to the court for a bailiff to serve the divorce papers. The petitioner needs to complete a Form D89 with descriptions or photographs of the respondents and payment to the bailiff for each of the people served.
The petitioner can apply to the court for a Decree Nisi if there are no disputes or a lack of defence by the respondent. Some conditions must be met before a Decree Nisi can be granted. These are:
- The Petitioner must provide a sworn statement in Form D80 to confirm the contents of the petition are true and correct.
- The respondent and co-respondent have confirmed adultery has taken place.
- The respondent would need to agree to the divorce where adultery is not the reason for the petition.
- Both parties agree with care arrangements for children.
If everything is as it should be, the judge reviewing the paperwork will send both petitioner and respondent notification of entitlement of a decree. The decree nisi is granted approximately five weeks after the application. Once there is an agreement by the courts for a decree nisi, the petitioner can apply for a decree absolute after a further six weeks and a day. When this is granted, the divorce is final.
There are waiting periods because of the administration process and there are cooling off periods where every opportunity to reconsider their actions is given to the people involved. This is particularly important where children are involved and people suffer considerable financial loss, which is a problem when it is common for divorcees to reconcile their differences at a later date.
When the petitioner does not apply for the decree absolute, the respondent can apply to the court after three months. This sometimes happens because the original petitioner does not wish to make the divorce final because of a change of heart. However, the respondent often completes the divorce at this stage and they are able to do so approximately nineteen weeks after the decree nisi was granted. The petitioner can still prevent the divorce taking place if they can prove there would be serious financial difficulties because of the action.
If you are looking for a divorce lawyer, London has many professionals able to meet your needs, but the information here should reduce your consultation time considerably.