Divorce Petition Updated
The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2017 will come into force on 7 August 2017, with transitional provisions until 4 September 2017. One of the highlights is a significant change to the format and appearance of the divorce petition, to take effect after the Summer. Perhaps just in time for the annual post-summer holiday spike in divorce enquiries? Or certainly a nod towards the future of online divorce.
The new form can only be used from 7 August 2017 and is compulsory from 4 September 2017.
Courts have been told not to accept the old forms after 4 September 2017.
Online Divorce Petitions
The new Petition can be found here. It has apparently been drafted in light of the online divorce project run by the Ministry of Justice and planned for release in stages through autumn to spring 2018. The new divorce petition follows a Q&A type layout. It needs very few words for each section, and is mostly a tick box exercise. It includes plenty of Guidance Notes as part of the forms, from section to section in refreshingly plain English.
Financial Dispute Resolution Hearings
The Family Procedure Rules have also been amended in relation to FDR appointments in financial remedy proceedings and procedure under Part III of the MFPA 1984 as follows:
- Requirement to have a FDR in Financial Remedy Proceedings. The current r.9.15(4) provides that if the court at First Appointment decides that a referral to a FDR appointment is appropriate it must direct that the case be referred to a FDR appointment. R.9.15(4) is amended to provide that the court at First Appointment must direct that the case is referred to a FDR appointment unless (i) the First Appointment has been used as an effective FDR appointment or (ii) there are exceptional circumstances which make a referral to a FDR appointment inappropriate.
- Part III MFPA 1984 Applications. Currently r.8.25 provides that the court may grant an application under Part III which has been made without notice to the respondent if it appears that there are good reasons for not giving notice. If the application has been made without notice the applicant is also required to state why notice has not been given. From 7 August 2017 r.8.25 instead provides that the application must be made without notice to the respondent and (unless the court considers it appropriate to be determined on notice) also determined without notice to the respondent.
- Part III Allocation. R.8.28 provides that if a leave application under Part III is granted a High Court judge may direct that the rest of the application may be heard by a district judge of the Principal Registry. As of 7 August 2017 that Rule shall be removed and r.8.23 amended to include a signpost to The Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) Rules 2014 which contains guidance as to which level of judge applications under Part III should be allocated.
If you would like more details on this or want to discuss your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James or Frank. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on 01904 217225 or email us to [email protected].