What do I do next?
The respondent has replied to my petition
What must I do next?
How can I get information or advice?
For free legal information, help and advice contact Community Legal Service Direct on 0845 345 4 345 or at www.clsdirect.org.uk You can also seek help from a Citizens Advice Bureau or Consumer Advice Centre.
If you have children, make sure you read leaflet D195 (Children and dissolution) as well as this leaflet.
What do I do with the copy of the respondent’s form D510(6) (acknowledgement of service)?
Check the answer the respondent has given to the question ‘Do you intend to defend the case?’.
If the answer is ‘No’ you can ask the court to consider whether:
• you have grounds for a dissolution; and
• if the arrangements you propose for any children are satisfactory.
This is called “applying for directions for trial”.
If the respondent answers ‘No’ to the question ‘Do you agree with the statement of the petitioner as to the grounds of jurisdiction set out in the petition?’, the court will let you know if it is necessary for you to see the Judge. If you need to come to court, you should ask a solicitor to help you.
What should I do if the respondent says they intend to defend the case?
Wait to see whether you receive a copy of the defence, (known as an ‘answer’). The respondent must provide the court with the answer within 21 days after the time limit for giving notice of intention to defend expires, which is in turn 7 working days after the petition was received by that person. (A ‘working day’ is any day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or Bank holiday.)
You should therefore wait for 29 days from the date that the respondent says they received your petition. However, this time period may be slightly longer if, for example, a bank holiday occurs between the date the petition was served and the end of the following 29 days.
If you do not receive a copy of the defence, (called an ‘answer’), within the above period, you can apply for directions for trial.
If you do receive a copy of the respondent’s answer, you should ask a solicitor to
The court may be able to help you calculate the first date on which you may apply for directions for trial.
How do I apply for directions for trial?
You will need copies of form D84 (application for directions for trial) and form D580G (affidavit of evidence) from the court office. They are free. They are also available online at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk
Fill in form D84 and form D580G, and send or take them to the court office. This is called ‘entering your case in the special procedure list’.
You must not return these forms to the court until 9 days have passed since the respondent says they received your petition.
You must answer all the questions on form D580G.
Form D580G is an affidavit. This is a statement you must swear is true in front of a person approved to witness you doing this.
You must not sign form D580G until the person witnessing tells you to. You must not send it to the court unless it has already been sworn and witnessed.
Who can witness the swearing of my affidavit?
• an officer of a county court or of the Principal Registry, or
• a solicitor.
Will I have to pay a fee to the witness?
Not if the witness is an officer of the court or the Principal Registry. A solicitor will make a charge.
What documents will I need to exhibit to the affidavit?
You must provide documents which show:
• that the respondent has received the petition;
• that the respondent consents to a dissolution where the grounds are that you have lived apart for two years; and
• that the respondent agrees with the arrangements proposed for the children.
In almost all cases a copy of the form D510(6) (acknowledgement of service) filled in and signed by the respondent will show all of these things. The form D510(6) should be exhibited to the affidavit.
What will the court do with the forms D84 and D580G?
Court staff will place the papers with your case file and pass it to the Judge.
The Judge will look at your petition and affidavit of evidence and decide if you can have a dissolution. You will not have to come to court when this is done.
The Judge will also consider the arrangements for the children by looking at your form D8A (statement of arrangements for the children) and the respondent’s form D510(6) (acknowledgement of service).
What will happen if the Judge says I can have a dissolution?
The court will send you and the respondent a form D584A (certificate of entitlement to a decree).
Form D584A will tell you the time and date when the Judge will grant your dissolution. This is called ‘making the conditional order’. There is no need for you to come to court on that date.
If there are no children of the family, form D584A will come with form D584B (notice of satisfaction with the arrangements for the children) which will confirm that there are no children.
A conditional order is the first of two orders you must have before your civil partnership is finally disolved and you are free to enter into another civil partnership or marry. Leaflet D197 (I have a conditional order - what must I do next?) will tell you how to get your final order.
What will happen if the Judge says I cannot have a dissolution?
The court will send you form D79 (notice of refusal of Judge’s certificate).
The form will tell you why the Judge has decided your case is not in order. In most cases, the court will need further information. You will be told what extra information is needed.
If the Judge feels your case cannot be decided from the written information supplied, there may have to be a court hearing. This is called ‘removing your case from the special procedure list and entering it in the undefended list’. You will have to come to the hearing. The hearing will take place in court.
If your case is entered in the ‘undefended list’, you should ask a solicitor to help you.
Leaflet D197 (I have a conditional order - what must I do next?) will tell you how to get your final order.
Leaflet D195 (Children and dissolution) will tell you what may happen if the court says you cannot get a final order until satisfactory arrangements are made for the children.
Note: If there is a co-respondent to your petition, the information in this leaflet about respondents also applies to the co-respondent.