If you have received a divorce petition it is bound to create some mixed emotions. You may be upset about the ending of your marriage and the timing of the petition and also concerned about what to do next. All of your feelings are valid, but taking the time to understand the divorce process and what to do next can help you to feel more in control of the situation.
Along with the divorce petition, you will receive a Notice of Proceedings form and an Acknowledgement of Service form. Make sure you keep hold of the Notice of Proceedings form as this contains the case number and also outlines what happens next.
Talk to a Divorce Solicitor
You need to decide if you are going to agree or disagree with the divorce. In order to decide this, it is a really good idea to get some specialist legal advice from a Divorce Solicitor. At Co-op Legal Services we offer initial legal advice and our Divorce Solicitors avoid using legal jargon so we can help you to clearly understand what the divorce petition means and discuss your options.
Agree with the Divorce
If you decide to agree with the divorce, complete the Acknowledgment of Service form and send it back to the Court within 8 days of receiving the divorce petition. Once you have done this, the divorce will start to proceed. If you instruct a Divorce Solicitor to represent you, they will complete this for you.
Defend the Divorce
If you do not agree with the divorce petition, you still need to complete the Acknowledgement of Service form and send it back to the Court within 8 days, but you need to complete the section for defending the divorce. After this, you will need to complete an Answer to a Divorce Petition form, giving the reasons for defending the divorce and pay the Court fee. If you decide to use a Divorce Solicitor to represent you, they will complete this paperwork on your behalf.
Start Your Own Divorce Petition
Your third option is to start your own divorce petition. You may want to do this because you have evidence of adultery or unreasonable behaviour from your husband or wife. If you decide to do this, you should complete the Divorce Petition Form (or instruct your Solicitor to) and pay the Court fee.