You may have been following the torrid tale of poor Mrs Tini Owens and her attempt to obtain a divorce from her husband on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour.
Family lawyers have been shocked by the unexpected conclusion to the case which went to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court who unanimously dismissed Mrs Owens appeal to overturn lower court decisions refusing her divorce. The Court found the marriage had broken down but that the 27 examples of unreasonable behaviour were “flimsy and exaggerated” and therefore did not amount to unreasonable behaviour such that the Petitioner could not be expected to live with the Respondent.
So it’s not just a matter of filling in a few papers and asking the court to rubber stamp your divorce petition. You need to ensure that your petition is drafted correctly, particularly if you are relying on unreasonable behaviour. An online divorce pilot has just been launched, as from 1st May. This makes applying for divorce more accessible to the individual avoiding the need to instruct a solicitor. All seems to be going well so far but none of the divorces filed will yet have reached decree nisi stage, when the Judge assesses if divorce grounds are made out.
If you have any doubts about the divorce process, consult a family law solicitor. You also need to take legal advice as to the timing of the decree absolute which could ruin pension rights for either party.
If in doubt, consult your solicitor.