Q&As

In a case where there has been extreme violence against a party to a marriage including attempts to kill them, can that party commence divorce proceedings without giving notice of the proceedings to the violent partner and what can be done to protect the party in fear?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 21/04/2017

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In a case where there has been extreme violence against a party to a marriage including attempts to kill them, can that party commence divorce proceedings without giving notice of the proceedings to the violent partner and what can be done to protect the party in fear?

It is an unfortunate aspect of family law that in some cases extremely serious incidents of domestic violence characterise the relationship. In such circumstances it is understandable that a party seeking to flee such a relationship will not wish to risk further retribution by taking the first step towards freedom and issuing divorce proceedings.

A petition for divorce will set out that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and will set out the grounds which are relied upon. In a case of domestic violence, it is likely that the ground will be intolerable behaviour. The petition is sent to the court, but also needs to be served upon the other spouse, who is required to acknowledge the same. Therefore, while there is no requirement to notify the violent spouse when divorce proceedings are commenced, the spouse will receive notice of the petition for divorce.

In such circumstances it may be prudent before petit

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