The procedure after completion of the Acknowledgment of Service varies depending on how the form has been completed as follows:-
1) The Respondent does not wish to defend the divorce and does not dispute the costs claimed and, where applicable, admits the adultery or confirms consent to a divorce based on 2 years’ separation
In this scenario the Petitioner will be entitled to apply to the court for the decree nisi to be pronounced. The application for decree nisi must be accompanied by a statement in a prescribed form. The contents of the supporting statement vary depending on which of the five facts have been relied upon in the Petition. Whilst it is possible for the Petitioner’s solicitor to sign the application for decree nisi, the supporting statement must be personally signed by the Petitioner formally to confirm the truth of the contents of the statement and Petition. For next steps after the court has received the application for decree nisi.
2) The Respondent does not wish to defend the divorce, but objects to paying the costs claimed and, where applicable, admits the adultery or confirms consent to a divorce based on 2 years’ separation
In this scenario the Petitioner must decide whether to continue to pursue their claim for divorce costs when making the application for decree nisi. The Petitioner will be entitled to apply for the decree nisi in the same manner detailed above and will simply need to decide whether to tick the appropriate box in the supporting statement to confirm whether they are asking the court to make a costs order at the decree nisi stage. If the Petitioner ticks the box to confirm they are still seeking a costs order then the court will consider this issue at the same time as pronouncing the decree nisi. Costs orders are usually made, if applied for, in divorce proceedings based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour, but are less likely in cases involving two or more years’ separation.
3) The Respondent wishes to defend the divorce
If the Respondent wishes to defend the divorce then there are certain procedural steps which must be taken. In the first instance, the Respondent must file a formal defence to the divorce (known as an “Answer”) within a prescribed time limit. This will generally attract a court fee. The Petition will then become defended and the court will usually list a short directions hearing followed by a final contested hearing. Defended divorce proceedings are rare and will be explained fully if applicable. However, invariably, there will be an increase in your divorce costs if the Respondent indicates an intention to defend and the process is likely to take longer to reach conclusion.