to give some background to a very complicated situation:
I lived together with the respondent for 20 years before marrying him at 39 weeks pregnant, simply to give him parental rights; to which he was fully aware and agreed.
After the birth, relations declined significantly and, less than a year later, I moved into a separate part of our property with our child. At this point I was 5 months pregnant with our second child.
We have now lived quite separately for three years, although the respondent uses our living space as his own during the day. He seems obvlivious, but he is undoubtably emotionally and financially abusive towards me and I suffer from depression because of this.
It is a very stressful situation which is made worse in that, due to a litigation claim against the neighbouring landowner for damage to our residence, we are unable to sell our property until this has concluded.
I wish with all my heart to be free of this man and my marriage, so I applied for a divorce petition on the 13th February on the grounds of separation with consent, and this was issued on the 21st February.
Despite giving his consent prior to the application, the respondent has now communicated his reluctance to grant a divorce at this time and, although I had been informed that a financial order was not a requirement to obtain a divorce, the respondent is now insisting that this be undertaken.
He has been so vile since receiving the Petition, that he convinced me that it was better - legally and morally - to stay married at least until the property issues are resolved. So I wrote to the District Judge asking for the application to be dismissed.
Now it transpires that the responent is defending my application! And the judge has asked for further confirmation of my request to issue a dismisal, because I asked if the divorce could continue without a financial order.
SO...what do I do under the circumstances?
Do I dismiss or continue with the petition? There are pros and cons to both and I surely cannot see clearly for all the fog in my mind. Can anyone help me please?
Continue with the Petition. You need to be out of this situation and only the divorce proceedings gives the court the power to make orders to enable you to get out. If necessary, amend your Petition to add particulars of his behaviour as this would give grounds for divorce anyway. Plenty of people threaten to defend divorces but in 16 years of family litigation, I have only ever seen two who actually did so.
I think you should see out a solicitor to sort out this tangle you have gotten into. It is undoubtedly better to carry on with the divorce process than dismiss it and start again, but doing so could be quite hard DIY. You would need to change your Petition from 2 years separation to UB, the amendment fee is £90, and if you get it wrong you will end up in an even bigger mess. Better, and probably cheaper in the long run, to get it right first time by seeing a solicitor.