Q&As

What is the procedure to effect service of a divorce petition issued in England and Wales on a respondent living in the USA?

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Published on LexisPSL on 10/09/2020

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

  • What is the procedure to effect service of a divorce petition issued in England and Wales on a respondent living in the USA?

The rules about the service of application forms/notices and other documents in family proceedings outside of the jurisdiction of England and Wales, and the procedure for service, are contained in Chapter 4 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 6 (SI 2010/2955, 6.40–6.48). This is supplemented by FPR 2010, PD 6B.

FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.41 provides that permission of the court is not required in order to serve documents out of the jurisdiction in family proceedings.

The rules regarding the manner in which service should be effected differ depending on where service is intended to take place, and tend to include a longer time limit for acknowledging service. There is a detailed table setting out the different time limits for each country in FPR 2010, PD 6B.

FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.43(3) provides that the general rule is that where the applicant wishes to serve a document on a respondent out of the UK, it may be served:

  1. by any method provided for by:

    1. FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.44—service in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council adopted on 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents) (the Service Regulation)

    2. FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 6.45—service through foreign governments, judicial authorities

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