This is the very basic outline of the procedure:
- The petition and statement of arrangements (“SOA”) for any relevant children of the family are completed and signed by the Petitioner or a solicitor instructed by the Petitioner and with the original marriage certificate and Court fee are filed with the court. The court then issues the papers and gives the Petitioner a reference number.
- The Court then serves the Respondent by post with a copy of the petition and SOA together with an acknowledgement form. Please note that the Petitioner is not permitted to personally serve the Respondent with the papers. When received the Respondent should consider seeking legal advice.
- The Respondent should complete the acknowledgement form and return this to the court. The purpose of the form is to ensure that court is aware that the Respondent knows about the proceedings.
- The court will send the Petitioner a copy of the acknowledgment form and the Petitioner is then required to complete a sworn statement (affidavit) confirming that the contents of the petition are true and that the signature on the acknowledgement is that of their husband or wife (unless signed by a solicitor in their place). The Petitioner then files the sworn statement together with an application for a Conditional Order with the court.
- The Judge will then consider the paperwork that has been filed and if he/she is satisfied that the petition and other documents are in order will give a date for the pronouncement of the Conditional Order. The court notifies the Petitioner and Respondent and there is no need to attend court unless there is a dispute as to who is paying the costs of the petition.
- A Conditional Order is made by the court on the date given and confirmation is sent by post to the Petitioner and Respondent. The Petitioner can then apply for the Final Order six weeks and one day after the date of the Conditional Order. This is again a paper application and the Petitioner does not need to attend court. The judge will make the Final Order and again the documents will be sent out by post to the Petitioner and Respondent.