Having followed the pre action protocol and if you are still of the opinion that your marriage has come to an end then you will need to issue proceedings.
To issue an application you need to deal with the following preliminary issues:
a) have you been married at leat one year?
b) have there been any periods of reconciliation that would prevent you from issuing proceedings
c) which court do you wish to issue in?
d) WHEN should you issue.
These are strategic and legal questions that need to be considered and this blog is not the easiest place to discuss the same. If you have any concerns that you may have issues with any of the above items you should take legal advice from us.
Once you have decided that you can issue proceedings you need to prepare the following documents:
a) divorce petition (application form for the divorce)
b) statement of arrangements for children (if you have children)
c) notice of acting in person
d) Form FM1 (which shows that you attended mediation and that for example it failed
[ e) if you have limited means, then you can also complete an application for exemption from fees form to have your court fees either exempted completely or reduced according to your means ].
All these documents are available free of charge at any local divorce county court.
Having prepared all the forms above mentioned you would then need to send them to the DIVORCE COUNTY COURT in which you wish to issue proceedings. Please note that you can issue in ANY divorce county court and it need not be the court nearest the place where you got married or near where you live. Please also note that not all county courts deal with divorces so you should check first before sending your paperwork to that particular court. Practically however, it often makes sense to issue proceedings in the divorce county court that is located closest to where your children reside if you have any.
The court in approximately 1-2 weeks will send you as the Petitioner (the person who started the divorce) a Notice of Issue of Petition and Postal Service. This document shows when the petition (divorce application) was started as a case by the courts (ie issued) and when it was served by post on your spouse.
This second date is important as it is 7 days from that date that your spouse should return the Acknowledgement of Service Form back to the court indicating whether they intend to allow your divorce to proceed without challenge or if they are going to try to stop it by defending it . Very few divorces are defended nowadays.
If you have still not heard anything from your spouse in 14 days from the date of postal service, then you can consider your options and how to best proceed to the next stage.
I will discuss personal service in the next blog.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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