A re-designed Divorce Petition came into force as from 4 September this year. Here, Lisa Cogger our family and matrimonial specialist, looks at some of the changes which have been made and how those differences are viewed within the legal process.
As from 4 September 2017, the Courts no longer accept ‘old’ Divorce Petitions, with solicitors having been using the new style forms as from 7 August 2017. Much of the new style Petition remains the same in terms of content.
However, the design format has undergone a significant re-vamp in an attempt to make the divorce/dissolution process more user-friendly. For example, the new form factors in elements for easier reference such as notes for guidance on the same page as the Divorce Petition, with the layout having more of a ‘question and reply’ style.
What are the changes?
Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificates
With the new Petitions there will be no grey area in the expectation that Petitioners will have to supply the original marriage certificate on first application. The guidance at Sections 1.2 and 4.2 of the new Petition appears to indicate that a certificate will always be necessary. If for some reason a certificate cannot be supplied, a Notice of Application can be made to the court, and a separate fee of £155 will now be charged to the Petitioner.
Section 2.2 enables the Petitioner to keep their details confidential (a key aspect when it has been expressly stated that contact details should not be shared with their spouse). Although this option existed in the old Petition, this is now clearer and easier to complete. This welcome change also removes the need for filing a separate C8 form with the Petition which was a previous requirement.
Statement of Case
Section 6 of the new Petition is dedicated to the Statement of Case in support of the reasons for the divorce. Those Petitioners who have already been separated for 2/5 years no longer need to supply any background information here.
A number of items have now been excluded from the new style Petition. As the court does not need to satisfy itself about arrangements for any children concerned before a final decree can be made, Part 7 of the previous Petition (which included the names and dates of birth of the children of the family) have now been removed. Part 8 of the old Petition (relevant to help that may be needed for special assistance or facilities) has also been removed.
Family lawyer at Bowcock & Pursaill Lisa Cogger says: “The new-style Divorce Petition has been designed to lay the path towards ‘online divorce‘ which is likely to be introduced next year. The divorce process can and should be made simpler and more efficient. Hopefully the future system of divorce should therefore encourage divorcing couples to focus their attention on sorting out arrangements for their children and such associated matters of finance and property rather than having their attention distracted by a confusing and archaic divorce process.
“Hopefully the future system of divorce should therefore encourage divorcing couples to focus their attention on sorting out arrangements for their children and such associated matters of finance and property rather than having their attention distracted by a confusing and archaic divorce process”
If you need further expert legal advice upon issuing divorce proceedings or any aspect of matrimonial law, please do not hesitate to call Lisa Cogger on 01538 370830 or 07814 175350. Alternatively you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org