Following the filing of a divorce application by either spouse, the Court will seal the petition and send a copy of it to the Respondent spouse. But what if the Applicant does not apply for a Conditional Order?

Progressing a divorce

To progress the divorce from there, the Respondent has to acknowledge the divorce application or it is for the Applicant spouse to demonstrate that the Respondent has received it in some other way. If the Respondent does not acknowledge service or the Applicant cannot evidence the Respondent has received it, the Applicant has a couple of options. They can either:

  1. Apply to the Court for deemed service, effectively demonstrating to the Court that it is more likely than not that the Respondent has received it, or
  2. Apply to the court for substituted service, where the Court will explore allowing the service of the papers by some other means.

For these reasons, the Respondent is seldom ever able to make things difficult by delaying the proceedings indefinitely.

What if the Applicant does not apply for a Conditional Order?

What if the Applicant does not pursue the divorce in a timely way however? If, having filed the acknowledgement form, the Respondent finds that the Applicant does not apply for Conditional Order, what is the Respondent able to do?

Only the Applicant is able to file the application for Conditional Order. If they choose not to, the standard options for the Respondent are extremely limited. There may be some creative ways of compelling the Applicant to file the application in order to move the case forward, depending on the facts of the case.

Failing that, the only option is for the Respondent to file their own divorce application. It is important advice is taken in these circumstances as there are some relatively complicated interweaving procedures that should be taken on board which, if overlooked, have the potential to complicate the case even further.

If you would like help and support please contact our specialist Family team who will be happy to help.