Commencing divorce proceedings and drafting the petition
Commencing divorce proceedings and drafting the petition

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commencing divorce proceedings and drafting the petition
  • The parties
  • Where to start proceedings
  • Online divorce service
  • Jurisdiction
  • Previous petition on file
  • Names of parties
  • Omitting address
  • Contents of a petition
  • Divorce law reform

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners, inter alia, when considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on jurisdiction in divorce proceedings.

Family proceedings are governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955. The rules relating to divorce proceedings are to be found in FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, Pt 7 and the supplemental PD 7A.

FPR 2010 introduced a change in the terminology in divorce proceedings. There are, however, some inconsistencies between the terminology used in the rules, which use the new terms, and those referred to in the forms, which refer to old terms. Divorce proceedings are referred to as matrimonial proceedings.

Proceedings for divorce or a matrimonial order must be commenced by an application for a matrimonial order, still referred to as a petition.

The parties

The spouse filing the petition was formerly the petitioner, FPR 2010 refer to them as the applicant while the forms still refer to them as the petitioner. The party to the marriage against whom the petition is filed is the respondent. Even where a respondent submits an answer and their own petition, they will still be referred to