It was recently reported that the governments flagship divorce centre was rejecting 50% of divorce applications due to errors made in the application form.
Divorce Centres were originally introduced as part of the courts move towards a centralised system for divorce in England & Wales and formed part of a larger project to make Family Law proceedings more accessible and less prohibitive for those individuals who engage with the family law process.
However, it would appear from the increased number of rejections that the system is not providing the improvements that the scheme envisaged.
So what can you do if you are completing a DIY divorce application to make sure that your application is accepted?
Below is a list of the main reasons that a divorce application would be rejected by the court/Divorce Centres.
Many of the reasons for rejection are due to simple errors that could be made by anyone. To help you avoid them I have also included my top tips for avoiding them.
- When filling in the details of where your marriage took place check that the names of the parties (you and your spouse) match those on the marriage certificate EXACTLY. Even if the marriage certificate contains a spelling error, write it exactly as it appears on the certificate when completing your application form. If it is not completed in this way the court will have no option but to reject and return your application.
- Applications are also being return because many people are forgetting to sign and date their application form. This is easily done, I have seen qualified professionals have forms returned to them that are not signed and dated. My advice is to complete your application form and then leave it at least 24 hours before checking it for errors. If you can get a trusted friend or family member to also check it a second pair of eyes is always useful.
- Failure to enclose the court fee £550 or a Help With Fee’s form.
- Failure to enclose your marriage certificate. It’s easy to forget to enclose your fee and marriage certificate but the court can not do it’s job without these items. Failure to enclose what is needed is only going to cause delays and prolong a already stressful situation.
If you are an applicant making a DIY divorce application then the best advice that I can give you is to check, check and check again.
As with many things in life it is the simple things that make the big difference and simply checking your form or getting a trusted third party to check your form before submitting it is the easiest way to avoid any problems with your application.
* Bury St Edmunds, Information, gsi.gov on 13/03/2017
Carmen Hudson (LLB) is a director and head of legal of operations at DivorceBox.com a online legal service provider specialising in online divorce (e-divorce).
After 15 years in dispute resolution she founded DivorceBox to offer a less intimidating alternative to traditional legal services.