Q&As

The parties to a marriage separated over 20 years ago and decree nisi was pronounced on the petition. They subsequently reconciled, but now wish to divorce and are unsure whether the previous proceedings were dismissed. Do the original proceedings have to be dismissed or can a fresh petition be issued?

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/01/2020

The following Family Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The parties to a marriage separated over 20 years ago and decree nisi was pronounced on the petition. They subsequently reconciled, but now wish to divorce and are unsure whether the previous proceedings were dismissed. Do the original proceedings have to be dismissed or can a fresh petition be issued?

The procedure for divorce and other matrimonial causes is covered by the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 7.

If the original application for a divorce has not been dismissed, or finally determined by the court, that original petition still remains ‘live’ despite the lapse in time. Where there is already a petition by the same petitioner on file which has not been dismissed or finally determined, that petitioner cannot file a further (or second) petition without first obtaining permission from the court, except that no permission is required where the purpose of the further petition is to seek a divorce, or dissolution, following the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, or civil partnership, on the basis of the same facts contained in an original application for judicial separation, or for an order for separation. If the first petition by the same petitioner has not been dismissed or finally determined, permission must be obtained to file a further petition.

It should be noted that amended and supplemental petitions operate on a principle of relation back to the date of issue of the original petition. This means that it is not possible to allege, in a supplemental petition, for example, a period of desertion or separation expiring after the date of th

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