Can both parties file for divorce?

Can I file for divorce?

When starting the divorce process one party will commence proceedings and will be known as a Petitioner.  To start divorce proceedings an application is made which is known as a petition. The Petition will need to be sent to the Court and a fee will be paid to the Court. You can sometimes apply to be exempt from paying some or all of the court fee but this will depend on the Petitioner’s financial circumstances and will be assessed by the Court.  The Petitioner will need to have available details of the date and place of the marriage and the name and address of the other party to the marriage. 

Does it make any difference who starts the divorce proceedings?

Not really as there can only be one decree of divorce.  Presently if a divorce is being commenced you will need to consider on what grounds the marriage can be said to have been irretrievably broken down. If it as a result of the fault of the other party then the party bringing the proceedings may be entitled to recover some or all of the legal expenses in bringing the petition to the court.

The other party may object to the grounds in support of the divorce and object to paying costs.  The other party may also consider they have their own grounds for saying the marriage has broken down irretrievably. It is therefore always a good idea to consider in advance notifying the other party of an intention to commence divorce proceedings to prevent the possibility they may defend the divorce or file an answer and their own petition which is known as cross decrees as this can often seek to increase the legal costs of the divorce process.

Usually it will be  one spouse who wants to divorce and  they who will be the one who files for the divorce and as the Petitioner it would be that party who would progress the divorce process forward. 

If one of the spouses is religious and has objections to divorce, they may prefer to be the respondent rather than the petitioner.

For more information on family law matters, please call us today on 0800 614 722 to arrange a free and confidential initial consultation.