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FT Family Law

Divorce petition mistakes can cost valuable time and money

In an era in which more and more people are seemingly filing their own divorce papers, there also appears to be a greater epidemic of people completing such forms incorrectly – losing valuable time in the process. Even one minor error in a divorce petition can result in it being refused, so it is recommended that you work with a family solicitor who is accustomed to filling in and submitting such forms both quickly and accurately.

Divorce petitions can be costlier than many would-be divorcees realise. You might be in a situation where you and your former partner amicably agree to a divorce, with agreement having been reached on both finances and the children. You may decide, instead of hiring a lawyer, to download a free D8 form online from the government website, followed by the swift completion and printing off of the divorce papers.

Completing a divorce petition may appear to be a simple task, merely entailing the disclosure of such obvious details as you and your partner’s names, addresses and location of marriage. You may indicate a certain period of time for which you have been separated, before finally filing the form with the appropriate court fee. A few weeks later, your ex-partner calls you, confirming that they have received the divorce petition, filled it in and sent it back.

This may seem like the end of the process, but it can actually be just the start of a highly frustrating one for many prospective divorcees. Instead of the expected letter from the court declaring that your seemingly straightforward divorce has been reviewed and processed, you may receive one that highlights several errors in your divorce petition, precluding the divorce from being granted.

The judge may fault you on the basis of not listing your middle names or giving the correct answer for your place of marriage. The court may also request to know whether your wife adopted your surname on marrying you, or may suggest that you seemed to be living together for a certain period of time after your claimed separation.

Such errors lead to the judge ordering you to answer these queries and file an amended petition, with the associated amendment fee. To make your life harder, your erstwhile partner may have momentarily left the country and be difficult to trace. More serious mistakes on your divorce petition may even impact on your financial rights and ability to make or prevent future claims.

It is also worth remembering that the judge will stop at the first error on the divorce petition, so even if you amend it, further mistakes may be pointed out following the second submission.

With the right divorce solicitor by your side such as those in our capable family law team here at Farani Taylor, you can complete your D8 form successfully first time out – and avoid any nasty surprises that could cost you both time and money.

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