A short DIY guide to completing a divorce when your spouse will not sign any forms or you don`t know where they live.
How can i obtain a divorce if my spouse refuses to sign any paperwork or i don`t know where s/he now lives?.
If you know your spouse will refuse to sign any court papers you need to have service deemed, if you don`t know where your spouse now lives you need to dispence service.
What is service?, when you ask for a divorce the court need to send some forms to the person from whom you are asking the divorce, once they return the paperwork "service" is complete, if they don`t return the forms or you don`t know where to send them you need to "deem service" if they wont return the forms or "dispence service" if you don`t know where they live.
Refusal to sign the acknowledgement of service.
If this happens you can still have the divorce but it will take a little longer and cost more money in court fee`s, it should be noted that this process is far from easy without the assistance of a solicitor, Wikivorce does offer this service for a fixed fee of £480 plus court costs.
To start with you need to write to your spouse informing them of the pending divorce and send it recorded delivery so you can proof it was sent, if no responce then you need to find a process server or inquiry agent, the court will suggest a bailiff, they are more expensive and tend to be much less successful, the server will require a recent photograph and address details for the respondent, they will then serve the respondent, this is as simple as handing over an envelope, once done they will provide you with a statement of truth (affidavit) so you can prove to court the respondent was served at a certain time and place.
Now you have proof of service the next step is to file form D11 with court (costs £90) it will take quite some time to get a short hearing in court, the hearing itself is quite short, the judge checks the paperwork and if all correct will allow you to move of to direction for trial under special procedure (form D84) once complete the next stage is decree nisi assuming for D80 statement of support is also complete.
Solicitors follow a slightly different route when deeming service which usually takes far less time.
If you no longer know where your spouse lives you should make every effort to find their contact details, dispensing service is even more difficult than deeming service, again it is far from easy without the help of a solicitor, Wikivorce does offer a fixed price service for £480.
To begin with you need to complete the divorce application along with statement of information for children if you have any, then form D13B which is an application to dispence with service of divorce application, this is an exhaustive list to show you have made all reasonable effort to contact your spouse, the biggest problem by far when attempting this yourself is that your are biased, you are asking for a divorce and also saying to the judge i did my best to find your spouse, for this reason its rare for a judge to accept this without affidavits supplied by a solicitor to confirm this, the solicitor is independent and without bias in the application, if not using a solicitor you will need to make a D11 application (costs £90), before you do this it is wise to place an advert in the local paper the spouse was last known to reside in, this will help convince the judge you have made best endeavors to make contact with your spouse.
Solicitors who have no vested interest can use a shorter route involving affidavits, this takes less time and does not always require a D11 application.