What do you do when your spouse ignores divorce proceedings?

Usually when a marriage breaks down and the parties decide to get a divorce there is mutual co-operation, at least so far as to enable the marriage to be dissolved through the courts.

However, there are some instances where one party refuses to acknowledge the breakdown of the marriage and ignores the Court proceedings. Does this mean that the divorce cannot proceed?

Not necessarily. Firstly, if you have begun the process of divorce on line or commenced proceedings yourself without a solicitor, it may be the case that your partner is not taking you seriously. In such cases, it might be useful to consult with a solicitor and have a letter written to your spouse politely but firmly requesting that they co-operate. If a solicitors letter fails to do the trick, then there is a procedure available in the Court whereby you can ask the judge to allow the divorce to proceed even though your spouse has ignore the process.

This application is called an application for deemed service. A Court fee is payable and if the Court considers that all efforts to serve the divorce papers have been exhausted, an order can be made allowing you to apply for the next stage of the divorce and obtain the decree nisi.

Other options are to request the court bailiff to personally serve the divorce papers so there is proof of service. The court can make an order for substituted service allowing service by some other means, such as WhatsApp.

Sometimes the Court will order your spouse to pay the costs of the application as a penalty for lack of co-operation with the Court process.

At Maxwell Hodge, we have a Family Team of expert divorce practitioners who will assist you if your divorce becomes bogged down because your partner is failing to co-operate.

We offer a fixed fee consultation at a very affordable price.