A divorce petition is filed at court. The petition will be based on irreconcilable breakdown of the marriage, shown by any of:
- Adultery by the other
- Unreasonable behaviour by the other
- 2 years separation with mutual consent
- 5 years separation
The petitioner decides whether the court is to post the petition out to the respondent or whether he or she will arrange for the respondent to receive it. This is called “service”.
The respondent will need to fill in a form of acknowledgement and return it to the court. Following this, there is a space of 3 to 4 weeks in which the respondent may file a defence.
If the respondent does not send the acknowledgement of service, the petitioner applies to a district judge to prove that the respondent did, in fact, receive the petition.
The petitioner must apply for a judge to certify that the petition is proven. The petitioner will lodge a sworn statement in order to verify the petition.
The judge then certifies that the facts are proven and sets a date for pronouncement of a decree nisi.
No–one has to attend court. On the day set for pronouncement of decree nisi the judge makes the decree, and may also order the respondent to pay costs.
Then after 6 weeks the petitioner can apply for the decree absolute to be made. The divorce is final when the decree absolute is granted.
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