If possible it is a good idea to obtain your spouse’s consent to start divorce proceedings, as this may help to keep things amicable.
What You Need
- Marriage certificate
The original certificate will be required to be sent to the court with the divorce papers. If the Petitioner does not have a copy it can be requested (for a small fee) from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
- The Divorce Petition (form D8 )
This is a standard form that needs to be completed. In the petition the name of the County Court has to be completed, this will usually be the local court to where the Petitioner lives.
The place and date of the marriage is completed along with the parties’ names, all this information is copied exactly from the marriage certificate.
The next section is the address where the parties last lived together as husband and wife.
Paragraph three requires the Petitioner to state the ground they rely on to establish that the court has jurisdiction to accept the matter. The ground that is often used is that the Petitioner has been habitually resident in the UK for a period of 12 months immediately preceding the presentation of the Petition.
Paragraph four is where the Petitioner states the occupation and address of both parties (if known). Sometimes the Petitioner may not wish the Respondent to know where they are living and in this case they can withhold their address from the form although they then must disclose this address to the court on a Form C8. The next few sections ask if there are any children of the family, their names and ages, if another child has been born to the wife during the marriage and whether or not there have been any proceedings previously relating to the marriage, children (including CSA) or property of the parties
Paragraph nine states whether there are any proceedings outside England and Wales which are capable of affecting the validity or subsistence of the marriage.
Paragraph ten is only to be used if the petition is based on five-year separation without consent. If applicable the Petitioner must state whether any arrangement has been made, or proposed to be made, between the parties for the support of the Petitioner, Respondent of child of the family.
Paragraph eleven states that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Paragraph twelve recites the fact relied upon for the divorce. The wording is taken from the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973).
Paragraph thirteen is where the Petitioner will state the Particulars of the allegations being used to prove the fact.
The prayer follows. This is a request to the court to dissolve the marriage and to request various orders such as the Respondent to pay the costs of the Petition. The Petition is then signed and dated by the Petitioner and addresses of the parties completed. If solicitors are helping the parties then their address will be entered “care of”.
- A Certificate with Regard to Reconciliation
This will be included in the divorce documents but this is only if the Petitioner is a privately paying client. This just certifies that the solicitor instructed has discussed the possibility of reconciliation.
- Court Fee or Fee Exemption Form (EX160)
If you are a private client then you must pay a court fee for issuing the petition. If you are being advised under the Legal Help scheme then you will send a fee exemption form instead and no fee will be payable.
- Statement of Arrangements for Children
This form outlines who the children are and their details, where they live and what facilities that accommodation has, their education details – schools, colleges attended, whether they require special needs and any fees that are paid.
These forms will all be signed by the Petitioner and then sent to the court for service on the Respondent.