Following on from my earlier articles in relation to the process of a divorce we assume that by this point you have not received the Acknowledgment of Service Form that your estranged spouse should have returned to the Court even though you have served them by bailiff or private process server.
If they have returned the Acknowledgment of Service Form and you served them by bailiff or process server please refer to the article 6a as that is more relevant for the next step to take as the procedure is slightly different from the process I am about to describe when you do not have the Acknowledgement of Service Form in your possession.
For reasons that I will not bore you with, you need to wait 29 days not including the day your estranged spouse was served with the documents before you can proceed onto the next stage.
Once those 29 days have elapsed AND if your estranged spouse has not filed any documents at court – you can proceed onto the next stage.
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. Clearly you do not have a copy of it.
If that is the case simply staple the copy of the bailiffs certificate of service or the private process servers certificate of service that you have received to the sworn statement and on the top in the middle somewhere quite prominent write an ‘A’ on the bailiff certificate or the process servers certificate that you are returning.
Delete the words that refer to the Acknowledgement of Service Form and instead insert a description of the document you are attaching eg sworn statement of process served dated 10.01.01.
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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