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Published by: Michael Howard

The New Divorce Petition

The format of a divorce petition has altered considerably, with effect from 7 August.  Until the end of August, the Court will accept both the old and the new forms, but only the new form will be acceptable from Monday, 4 September.

It would appear that the form has been revised with the intention of making it easier for individuals to complete their own petition without the need for solicitors to be involved.  It incorporates guidance to different sections, instead of having guidance in a separate document. The result is that the form has nearly doubled in size, from 8 to 15 pages, which may make it daunting for some to complete.

Although the language used in the new divorce petition has been somewhat simplified, there are still a number of serious and legal issues which have to be considered.  If sections of the form are completed incorrectly, the Divorce Centre staff are likely to reject the paperwork, causing a delay before the divorce is under way.

Particular care is needed in giving information where the divorce is to be based on long term separation, either for 2 years with the consent of the other party or for 5 years.  There is now a specific section of the form asking when the person applying for the divorce came to the conclusion that the marriage was at an end.  This may be recent, even if to a large extent the marriage has been struggling for a lengthy period. It can be difficult to establish the date when a court will accept that a marriage has come to an end and specific legal advice may be required about this.

It will still be necessary to consider whether or not to name a third person if there is a claim for a divorce based on adultery, or to list allegations in a petition based upon the other party’s unreasonable behaviour.

To avoid difficulty in completing the form and/or delay, we would recommend that legal advice is taken on the content of the draft divorce petition, before the papers are lodged with the Court.

If you or one of your friends or relatives would value further information on the subject, please contact Michael Howard of Taylor Walton LLP on 01582 714610 or email michael.howard@taylorwalton.co.uk to arrange an appointment.

Taylor Walton Solicitors offer FREE Initial 30 minute consultations with our Family lawyers (in return you will be invited to make a £20 donation to charity). To make an appointment please call our St Albans office: 01727 845245 or Harpenden Office: 01582 765111