Service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders within the jurisdiction
Service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders within the jurisdiction

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

  • Service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders within the jurisdiction
  • Good practice in relation to service
  • Requirements
  • Documents to be served
  • Who serves the application
  • Where to serve the application
  • Service of the application where the respondent does not give an address for service—locating the respondent
  • Service through the court
  • Service through the applicant
  • Methods of service
  • more

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications, inter alia, for practitioners considering service on a European Lawyer in an EEA as currently provided for in Family Procedure Rules 2010, SI 2010/2955 Pt 6. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—service of documents in family proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on service.

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Part 6 contain the core provisions regarding service in family proceedings, although note that specific provisions in any other Part of FPR 2010, other legislation or practice directions may overrule the general provisions, as can a direction of the court in a particular matter.

There are specific rules for the service of applications for matrimonial and civil partnership orders including applications by the respondent (divorce or dissolution petition), and these are set out in chapter 2 of FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, Pt 6 (SI 2010/2955, 6.3–6.22).

A matrimonial order means:

  1. a decree of divorce

  2. a decree of nullity

  3. a decree of judicial separation

In order to satisfy the court that decree nisi should be granted, service of the application for a matrimonial or civil partnership order (a petition) must be proved.

Generally, service may be proved by production of the acknowledgement of service in divorce or civil partnership proceedings. Where the