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Divorce law blog

Top Tips for filling out your Divorce Petition

02/10/2017   By: Eleanor Lowes

Filling out your divorce petition is the first stage in the divorce process which ends in obtaining your decree absolute, the final decree of divorce and your marriage being dissolved. It is important to ensure that your petition is filled out correctly as the court will reject applications where errors are made.

Our top tips to ensure that your petition is not rejected:

1. Send the correct documents to the court

Sounds simple but there are strict requirements and the court will reject your application if it does not include:

  • three copies of the petition (one for the court, one to be sent back to you and one to be sent to your ex);
  • your original marriage certificate; and
  • a cheque for the court fee (currently £550).
2. Is another country involved? 

You can only divorce in England and Wales if you satisfy one of the criteria in section 5.1 of the petition. Read them carefully and tick those that apply to you. If none of those options apply but you still would like to divorce here, speak to a specialist family lawyer.

3. Reason for the divorce

We do not (yet) have ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales. You must state the specific reason for the divorce from a choice of five listed at section 6.1 of the petition. 

The most commonly used reason is the respondent’s behaviour. If you are relying on this, consider carefully the examples that you are going to include and what impact they may have on your ongoing relationship with your ex. You should make sure that you explain the effect each incidence of your ex’s behaviour has had on you.

4. Orders sought

Make sure you tick ‘yes’ at section 10.1. This does not mean that you have to apply to the court for a financial remedy now but it ensures that the option is left open to you.

5. Attention to detail!

Finally, take your time completing the petition. Make sure that you have answered all the questions, ticked every box and that all dates and spellings are correct. The court will reject petitions if they contain errors, even small typos.

In August 2017, the divorce petition was updated. It is important to ensure that you are using the correct version, as the old version is no longer being accepted by the courts. Double check that “D8 Application for a divorce, dissolution or to apply for a (judicial) separation order (08.17)” appears in the bottom left corner of the first page.

If you need any advice concerning the divorce process, the family team at Mills & Reeve are happy to help.

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