3rd August 2017

A new divorce petition will be introduced next week which incorporates dramatic changes to the look and style of the old petition. The new petition can be used from the 7th August and it will become compulsory to start divorce proceedings using this form on the 4th September. After this date the Court will reject any petitions submitted on the old form.

The new petition should make it easier for unrepresented individuals to start divorce proceedings themselves and reduce the large number of petitions returned by the Court where the form has been incorrectly completed. The new style petition will also include guidance notes within the form itself, where the old petition referred to guidance notes contained in a separate document.

Simplifying the petition is one of the early steps towards online divorce and it seems the new petition has been drafted with the Ministry of Justice’s online divorce project in mind, which is being rolled out from Autumn 2017.

It is also positive to see a very clear reference to the opportunity for confidentiality at the start of the new petition, so that an individual is aware that their address does not have to be shared with their spouse. Although this option already existed with the old petition, it was not well advertised and it is important in cases of domestic abuse that victims are able to protect their contact details from abusive spouses.

Legal Aid is still available for divorce in circumstances where there has been domestic abuse. For further information, contact our specialist Family team who can assist with any divorce or separation enquiries. Phone 0191 275 2626 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.

Blog by Molly Foster, Trainee Solicitor