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Advice when respondent hasnt sent back the paperwork

  • heli_512
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06 Mar 21 #515999 by heli_512
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Hi,

New here, England.

I petitioned back in October 2020 using a popular online company. A month later the paperwork from the courts was sent to me and the respondant. However it seems since then, the respondent hasn't sent their peitition back to the court, and thus the whole process is at a standstill.

I'm aware of the next steps being either a process server or court baliff attemping to deliver the paperwork. However I don't really want to pursue this route due to various reasons (respondent lives with parents, and is very emotionally unstable (we had a very messy breakup, and I wouldn't want to make things worse)).

When I rang the main HMCTS, they the baliff route may yield the same result where they do not send the forms back (if they asnwer the door, most likely their parents will answer the door). They told me of the alternative deemed service, where the petition could be sent via text/whatsapp or email via the D11 form. However I cannot seem to find too much information about this.

Has anyone here successfully managed to progress the divorce application this way? I know the judge has to approve the request, and it could be denied, in which case I would have to go down the court baliff/process server route.

I've tried to contact the respondent over the matter but I am pretty sure my number has been blocked, and they have not responded to my emails (may have changed email address - as like I said, it was a very messy and unfortunate breakup).

No assets or kids, marriage broke down within a year (but had to wait the 12 months before applying).

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks

  • rubytuesday
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06 Mar 21 #516001 by rubytuesday
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You would need consent from the court to serve the petition via email/WhatsApp/Facebook - usually this would only be granted if there was no other way to re-serve the petition on the respondent.

A process server is likely to have more success at personally serving the petition than a court bailiff as PS can serve out with office hours and away from the residential address.

If your petition is based on either adultery or 2 years separation then you will first need to consider amending your petition to behaviour (or 5 years separation if appropriate) as you can progress a divorce without the respondent's involvement with a behaviour petition.

Wikivorce have a fixed fee service for people who have started proceedings but then need to apply for deemed service, or to dispense with service. It's worth giving the helpline a call on Monday.

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08 Mar 21 #516030 by heli_512
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Thanks for the response. If I were to purse the deemed service and it got denied, I could then apply for the process server way? I would be paying twice I understand.

The petition is based on UB. Thanks I will consider that option of using Wikivorce, however as I've already paid the other online company (who haven't been great) I'd like to see how far they can get me, before changing.

Many thanks

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08 Mar 21 #516031 by rubytuesday
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You would only be able to apply for deemed service if you have proof that the respondent has received the divorce petition, so unlikely your application would be refused - unless, of course, your "proof" isn't strong and irrefutable.

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08 Mar 21 #516036 by heli_512
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So isn't the petition received initially signed for? The company I am using received mine, so I'm not sure whether they had to sign for it or not. This would count for delivery of the petition?

If i just apply for the deemed service now, and lets say it gets denied. I then use a process server to attempt delivery of the petition. Lets say this is unsuccessful - the respondent refused to answer the door, or their parents answered for them.

Can I re-apply for the deemed service in this scenario?

Sorry for the many questions, my case has been stagnant for many months now, just want to get the process moving without causing any further distress to the respondent.

Thanks

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08 Mar 21 #516037 by rubytuesday
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You would need to have the petition personally served by a bailiff/process server first, then wait for 21 days afterwards to see if the respondent responds. If no response, the. Deemed service can be applied for, providing that service did happen. If service was not successful, then it would be dispense with service that would need to be applied for.

Not sure why the online provider would receive your petition when you are the petitioner.

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09 Mar 21 #516038 by heli_512
Reply from heli_512
Thanks for the info - it looks like I will have to go down the baliff/process server route first as opposed to the deemed service to get it sent via email.

Yes I had to sign a document that said all my correspondence for the divorce would be sent to the company.

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