How To Apply For A Divorce
Posted on 10th March 2020
In England and Wales, you can apply for a Divorce either online, or via your local family law solicitors (who currently apply through the post, but this could all change soon: keep up-to-date on our blog). If you want to apply for a Dissolution, you will need to apply in the post at this time, although again, this could change as technology advances in the judicial system.
A copy of the divorce petition that you will need to complete can be found, here. You will need to confirm/provide the following information:
What kind of application you will be making (i.e. Divorce/Dissolution/Judicial Separation) – to find out the difference between these types of applications, and what kind you should be making, contact our team of divorce solicitors in Lancaster and Preston, here.
What documents you will be providing to support your application (i.e. your marriage or civil partnership certificate (the original or an official certified copy) or an official translation (i.e. if you were married abroad) and accompanying certificate of translation).
Your previous name (if this is different on your marriage/civil partnership certificate, and proof of the change – if required).
Confirmation of whether you are happy for your contact details to be shared with your spouse/civil partner (if not, you will need to complete a separate form C8, available here, as well as leaving the next section (outlined in point 1iiii below) blank).
Your home address and contact details.
Details of your solicitor, for example our local family law solicitors’ information. If you are not instructing a solicitor, you will leave this information blank.
A correspondence address (if it’s different from your home address).
Details of your spouse/civil partner:
Any previous names (see 2 above for more information about previous names, and any proof required).
Their home address and other contact details. As they are not the applicant, and the petition will need to be served on your spouse/civil partner at their home address (unless they have a solicitor acting), you will need to provide this information.
An alternative address (i.e. their solicitor or a different address).
Details of the marriage/civil partnership:
Did the marriage take place in the UK, or not?
Do you need to make a separate application to issue your petition without a marriage or civil partnership certificate? (If yes, it would be advisable to seek legal advice from our expert team of divorce solicitors in Lancaster or Preston here, as you will need to complete Form D11 which, if not completed correctly, could delay your proceedings).
The date you were married/formed a civil partnership.
The full names of both parties on the certificate.
Confirmation that the details on the certificate are correct. If they are not, you will need to explain fully why they are wrong. Again, this could delay matters if not completed correctly, so you should seek legal advice from our team.
In order to deal with any divorce/civil partnership dissolution/judicial separation petition, the Court must be able to establish that they have something called jurisdiction.
The Court will ask you about both yours and the respondent’s (i.e. your spouse or civil partner’s) Habitual Residence and Domicile. These are outlined below:
Habitual Residence – This is the place (i.e. England) where your life is mainly based. Generally, you must be settled there and intend to stay settled there. For example, your children could go to school there, or you may own property and live there.
Domicile – Your domicile is the main permanent home where you live or where you intend to return to. Children generally acquire their father’s domicile (if the parents are married), or their mother’s if the parents are unmarried, or if the father predeceases the child’s birth.
If you were born in England or Wales and you have spent your entire life living here, it’s highly likely that you will be habitually resident and domiciled in England or Wales. However, if you have moved away, or you were born outside of England and Wales, for example, you should seek legal advice.
That’s not to say that you won’t meet one of the criteria to fall inside the English and Welsh Court’s jurisdiction, but it’s best to double check with our team of family law solicitors in Preston or Lancaster to prevent any delays or costly mistakes.
You will need to give reasons for your divorce or dissolution.
You can base your petition on one of five reasons: adultery, unreasonable behaviour of your spouse or civil partner, desertion, two years’ separation or five years’ separation.
You can read our divorce solicitors’ blog, here, to find out more about the five reasons.
Again, if this section is not correct, it can delay your divorce or dissolution proceedings so seek legal advice from our team of divorce solicitors first.
You will need to provide information to support your reason set out in section 6.
This could be anything from the date of separation (7.1 of the petition) to details of the unreasonable behaviour (7.2 of the petition); you will need to read through this section to decide what you need to fill in.
If the reason you are basing your petition on is adultery, you will need to complete section 8 of the petition.
You will need to provide details of the person involved with your spouse (i.e. the person who they committed adultery with).
It’s important to note that by naming another person on the divorce petition (as the co-adulterer will become a co-respondent), they will usually become a party to the case, and they will receive copies of the petition. Like the respondent, they will therefore be expected to respond to the petition, and if they do not, this could delay matters.
Provide details to the Court of any existing or previous Court proceedings in relation to your marriage/civil partnership, property or children. For example, if there are child contact proceedings, you could put details of that in this section. Alternatively, if you have previously issued divorce/dissolution proceedings and had not finalised them, you would need to include details.
Do you seek any Orders in relation to finances (money and property)?
You may think that, right now, you don’t, but if this section is completed incorrectly, you could cause issues in the future when trying to make a claim for financial provision (for example, if either you or your spouse’s/civil partner’s financial position changes).
You should seek legal advice from our divorce and finance solicitors in Lancaster, before completing this section.
What are you applying for?
You will need to tell the Court will you are applying for (i.e. a divorce/dissolution) and whether you want an Order for costs against your spouse. These are not available for every reason for divorce; for example, if the application is based on 5 years’ separation, the Court is unlikely to Orders costs to be paid. You will also need to confirm again whether you wish to apply for a Financial Order (again, please seek legal advice!).
The final section of the divorce petition or dissolution of civil partnership petition is the statement of truth.
The Petitioner (or their divorce solicitors) must sign this statement to declare that the facts stated in the petition are true.
Once you have completed the petition, you will need to submit this to the Court. At this point, unless you qualify for a fee remission (see form EX160, here), you will need to pay a fee of £550.00 for the Court to deal with your application.
A lot of the time, people believe that doing it themselves for free will be easier, and then ‘all they have to pay’ is the Court fee. However, when there are so many sections that you should only complete after seeking legal advice, plus the stress of the further steps involved with the process and the time-consuming nature of the process, it’s arguably better to consult our team of divorce solicitors and ensure that matters are completed correctly the first time around.
Our fixed-fee divorce packages (for both petitioners and respondents) start from just £175.00 plus VAT.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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