Undefended divorce proceedings
Undefended divorce proceedings

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

  • Undefended divorce proceedings
  • What is an undefended case?
  • The procedure for undefended cases
  • Application for decree nisi
  • Consideration of costs
  • Consideration of the arrangements for the children of the family
  • Consideration of agreement as to financial provision
  • Pronouncement of decree

What is an undefended case?

An undefended case is one in which:

  1. an acknowledgement of service has been filed indicating that it is not intended to file an answer, or

  2. an acknowledgement of service has been filed indicating an intention to defend but no answer has been filed, or any answer filed has been dismissed or withdrawn

A case will also be undefended where both the petitioner and respondent have issued their own petitions, where neither have filed answers, or such answers have been dismissed.

For further information, see:

Butterworths Family Law Service > Family Courts: Jurisdiction and Procedure > 2A Narrative > Chapter 2 Procedure > E Applications for divorce, dissolution, nullity, judicial separation and separation orders, 9 Undefended cases, paras [478]–[481]

The procedure for undefended cases

Prior to the commencement of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955 the majority of divorce cases proceeded under what was called the special procedure. It applied to all undefended proceedings, whether in a divorce county court or in the Principal Registry and treated as if pending in a county court or in the High Court. Under FPR 2010 there is no reference to the special procedure, which has now become the standard procedure for all undefended divorce proceedings and is a slightly more simplified system. Since 22 April 2014