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The respondent had replied to my petition

What do I do with the copy of the Respondent’s Acknowledgment of Service form?

You will need to check the answer that the Respondent has given to the question “Do you intend to defend the case?”.

If the answer is “no” you can ask the Court to consider whether you have grounds for a divorce and whether the proposed arrangements for any children are satisfactory. This is called “applying for Decree Nisi”.

If the Respondent answers “no” to the question “Do you agree with the statement of the Petitioner as to the grounds of jurisdiction set out in the petition?”, the Court will let you know if it is necessary for you to see the Judge. If you need to come to Court, you should consult a solicitor.

What should I do if the Respondent says they intend to defend the case?

You should wait to see whether you receive a copy of the defence (known as an “Answer”). The Respondent must provide the Court with the answer within 21 days after the time limit for giving notice of intention to defend expires, which is in turn 7 working days after the petition was received by that person.

You should therefore wait 29 days from the date that the Respondent says they received your petition. However, this time period may be slightly longer if, for example, a bank holiday occurs between the date the petition was served and the end of the following 29 days.

If you do not receive a copy of the defence within the above period, you can apply for directions for trial.

If you do receive a copy of the defence you should consult a solicitor.

How do I apply for Decree Nisi?

You will need to complete the relevant application and a statement in support of the application.

These forms then need to be sent to the Court for your application to be dealt with.

You must not return these forms to the Court until 9 days have passed since the Respondent say they received your petition.

What documents will I need to exhibit to the statement?

You must provide documents which show

  • That the Respondent has received the petition;
  • That the Respondent admits to having committe d adultery if this was a ground;
  • That the Respondent consents to a divorce where the ground are that you have lived apart for 2 years; and
  • That the Respondent agrees with the arrangements proposed for the children.

In almost all cases, a copy of form D10 filled in and signed by the Respondent will show all of these things. The D10 should be exhibited to the affidavit.

What will the Court do next?

The Court staff will place the papers with your case file and pass it to the Judge who will look at your petition and statement and decide if you can have a decree nisi in the divorce. You will not have to come to Court for this. The Judge will also consider the proposed arrangements for the children.

What will happen if the Judge says I can have a divorce?

The Court will send you and the respondent form D84A (certificate of entitlement to a decree) which will tell you the date and time when decree nisi will be pronounced. There is no need to go to Court then. You are not divorced yet.

What will happen if the Judge says I cannot have a divorce?

You will receive a notice of refusal of Judge’s certificate which will tell you why and telling you what the Judge requires.

If you have any questions or need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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