Following on from my earlier blogs in relation to the process of a divorce we assume that by this point you have received the Acknowledgment of Service Form that your estranged spouse returned to the Court (presumably within the 7 days they were expected to do so but in reality more often than not a substantial period of time thereafter). If your estranged spouse had not returned the Acknowledgment of Service Form to Court but was instead served by a bailiff or private process server that may have sprung them into action to return the Acknowledgement of Service Form very late.
If they have not returned the Acknowledgment of Service Form and you served them by bailiff or process server please refer to the next blog for the next step as the procedure is slightly different from the process I am about to describe when you do actually have the Acknowledgement of Service Form in your possession.
Application for Decree Nisi
You need to now make an application for Decree Nisi. In simple terms Decree Nisi means nearly divorced. It is almost the final stage of a divorce. You would have to wait a further six weeks before you can make the Decree Nisi Absolute – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The application for Decree Nisi used to be known as a Request for Directions for Trial (special procedure) but the Courts in their wisdom have, finally, simplified the process somewhat. If you search the internet many divorce sites will still refer to a Request for Directions for Trial (special procedure) if they have not updated their websites but essentially the process is the same.
There are two documents that you will need to obtain from either a reputable legal stationer (which will involve a cost of perhaps a few pounds) or you can download from the Justice Website which you will find HERE.
The forms that you require depend on the type of divorce that you instigated against your estranged spouse:
a) If you commenced divorce proceedings based on your estranged spouse’s alleged adultery then you will need Form D80A.
b) If you commenced divorce proceedings based on your estranged spouse’s alleged unreasonable behaviour then you will need Form D80B.
c) If you commenced divorce proceedings based on your estranged spouse’s alleged desertion for more than two years then you will need Form D80C.
d) If you commenced divorce proceedings based on the fact that you had been separated for a period of two years and that your estranged spouse has consented to the divorce then you will need Form D80D.
e) If you commenced divorce proceedings the fact that your estranged spouse has been separated from you for a period in excess of five years then you will need Form D80E.
The forms are relatively straightforward and simple to complete nowadays and no longer require you to attend a solicitors practice or the Court to get them sworn as an affidavit. Now you simply complete the form and sign and date the form, paying good attention to the fact that if you have lied on the form then you will potentially be sent to prison.
The (slightly) tricky part
The only slightly tricky part on the sworn statement is on the second page where it states you need to exhibit to your sworn statement as exhibit A the Acknowledgment of Service Form of your estranged spouse and also acknowledge their signature. If that is the case simply staple the copy of the Acknowledgement of Service Form you have received to the sworn statement and on the top in the middle somewhere quite prominent write an ‘A’ on the Acknowledgment of Service Form you are returning.
There is also provision for your to return the Statement of Arrangements for Children back page, which again you only need to staple to the back of your sworn Statement and somewhere near the top middle mark that document with a prominent ‘B’.
If you are exhibiting a doctor’s report or other statement then you will need to mark that document ‘C’ in the same way. It is usually the case that you will only exhibit the document A.
That is the first document duly completed ready to send to the Court. The second document is an application for Decree Nisi which is a Form D84. You can download from the same Justice website as above. Again, that is a simple document you need to complete and should be self explanatory. (The provisions for the conditional order relate to civil partnerships and you therefore generally do not need to deal with that part, unless you are dealing with the dissolution of a civil partnership).
Having signed and dated the application for Decree Nisi you need to send that document together with the sworn statement and the exhibits together to the Court. I would very strongly recommend taking photocopies of all the documents before you send them (as indeed I would for any document you prepare or letter that you send, as these documents are notoriously lost in transit either by the postal system or by the Court).
You do not need to pay a fee to make your application for Decree Nisi.
The 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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