There is a strict time-limited procedure for obtaining a divorce. The petitioner (spouse applying for a divorce) and respondent (spouse responding to the divorce petition) must complete certain steps, within certain times to ensure that the marriage can be dissolved by the family law court. If a divorce is contested, or there are complex financial details to resolve, the advice of a divorce solicitor in London, Brighton or elsewhere in the UK is likely to be essential in order to fulfil all legal requirements and ensure the correct time-keeping of the process.
After the divorce petition is sent – what happens next?
Once the divorce petition has been received by the family law court the petitioner will be sent a notice of issue of petition, a form D9H.
Form D9H gives the petitioner their divorce case number and acts as a receipt if a court fee has been paid. It will also contain details of when the divorce petition was sent to the respondent and what to do if the respondent (or any co-respondent named on the petition) does not reply to the petition.
The respondent (and co-respondent) have eight days in which to send their acknowledgement of the service of the petition, form D10, back to the court. The petitioner will then be sent a copy of form D10. If the respondent (or co-respondent) lives outside England or Wales they will have a longer time in which to return their acknowledgement of service form.
If the post office is unable to deliver the petition, perhaps because the address given to the court was wrong, all the forms will be returned to the court. The court will let the petitioner know if this has occurred and it will then be the responsibility of the petitioner, if they wish to pursue the divorce, to find out a correct address for the respondent. Once a new address is found, the respondent should let the court know and the petition and all relevant forms will be re-sent.
When the respondent receives the petition for divorce, hopefully they will fill in the form D10, agreeing with the petition and they will then send it back to the court. They may, however, fill in the form, but say they wish to contest the petition or perhaps the court’s jurisdiction in the case. Alternatively, they may choose to ignore the petition and just not bother to return it to the court.
The respondent has ignored the petition – what happens next?
If the court does not receive acknowledgement of service from the respondent after eight days, it will send form D89, a request for county court bailiff service, to the petitioner.
This is a formal request by the petitioner for the court to use a bailiff to personally serve the divorce petition on the respondent or any co-respondents. If possible, the petitioner should include a recent photograph of the parties to be served, with written descriptions.
A fee will be required for each person being served by the bailiff and this should be included with form D89.
Once the petition is served by the bailiff, the respondent is legally obliged to return the documents to the court within a specified time.
Healys’ divorce solicitors in London and Brighton for legal advice on family law
If you are at all unsure about how your personal circumstances will affect the pursuance of a divorce then the experienced divorce solicitors at Healys can help.
Healys is a full service firm of lawyers with established offices in London and Brighton, however, we advise clients throughout the UK and beyond in all matters relating to relationship breakdown, family law, financial settlements and divorce.
We believe that by listening sensitively to your family law issues we can offer you a comprehensive legal service to fulfil your individual requirements as each case is unique and will be heard by the courts on its own merits.
If you wish to discuss your divorce petition with us, or have been served with a divorce petition and you are unsure of what to do next please call our divorce solicitors in London and Brighton to discuss your options.
For more information on the service we provide, please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for Brighton. For London please contact Jane Sanders on 020 7822 4107 or email email@example.com