My husband told me he had consulted a solicitor and was starting divorce proceedings. four days later I recieved the Petition issued by the court. All info I read suggests that I should have received a draft first - is that just recommended or should I complain to someone about his solicitor. It has made the bad situation so much worse as the petition contained blatant lies, which even my husband says he hadn''t realised it would read that way and should have been changed! Too late!! It has become another confrontational issue between us - I thought the solicitor should have been more considerate. Any thoughts please?
There is no legal requirement to submit a draft of a Petition before lodging it.
It is, I am told, recommended by Resolution, an association of family law solicitors, that there are cases where it may be appropriate as a means of avoiding confrontation, by using allegations which are bland and don''t reflect on the Respondent as a person.
Almost certainly, these '' lies '' will have no effect on the divorce settlement.
I have in the past advised people in your position to use words like " The Respondent ( ie you ) does not accept the truth of the allegations in the petition but accepts the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The Respondent reserves the right to contest the truth of these allegations if they are
raised in subsequent proceedings between the parties. "
There are, unfortunately, some people who seem to relish confrontation, perhaps deliberately to get the other party rattled, but that is something which you do not need right now. You need to stay cool and very focussed.
Under the Family Law Protocol it''s considered good practice to give at least a week''s notice and the reasons before petitioning for divorce. However, the Protocol is voluntary and there may be circumstances when it is appropriate to Petition without giving notice.
The problem with the wording of the reasons is that they should be serious enough that it s intolerable to expect you to live together. That means that mundane everyday things such as disagreements about money are dressed up as financial irresponsibility and untrustworthiness. Or calling someone a moose becomes verbal abuse.
I''m sure someone was saying recently that in their area at least judges were tightening up and not letting petitions going through if the reasons were too bland. A solicitor should know what local courts are likely to accept.
In any case no one apart from you both, solicitors and the judge ever reads the Petition. The Absolute decree, which is the public record, doesn''t mention the reason for divorce and the other court papers are archived and then destroyed. As Mike said you can simply agree the marriage has broken down and disagree with the reasons. You can attach a separate sheet of paper outlining why you disagree if you want.
Just reading these posts. I was advised by my solicitor that you could not serve a judicial separation/maintenance Petition on your partner without prior notice. Indeed I had this confirmed by a short consultation with another solicitor. Some time later when speaking to a specialist matrimonial solicitor she told me that she COULD serve the petition without prior notice. Im inclined to believe the later and these posts would seem to confirm that. Am I getting this right? My husband left nearly a year ago and i still dont have any maintenance payments sorted and no court work has been done.
Any advice would be helpful as it looks likely that I will have to get the court to issue the petition as my husband ignores all requests to be reasonable.