The D10 Form and its Role in Divorce Proceedings
25 Jan, 2019 D10
Whilst it is possible for a divorce to proceed without the knowledge of both spouses, this is rare and in the vast majority of circumstances the Respondent (the spouse that did not file for the divorce) will be sent a copy of the Divorce Petition their spouse submitted to the court along with a D10 form (also known as an Acknowledgement of Service form). The Respondent will be asked to complete and return this to the court.
This form is relatively simple and includes a series of direct questions, the most important of which ask the Respondent if they agree to the divorce and the reasons for it. As most couples consent to the divorce, this form is usually completed and returned expeditiously. Sometimes, however, Respondents take their time or, worse yet, are offended by the reasons the Petitioner has provided (usually when the application is reliant on unreasonable behaviour) and do not return the document at all.
What can be done if your spouse doesn’t return the D10 form
In the event that the Respondent does not return the D10 form, all is not lost. If your divorce was reliant on unreasonable behaviour, adultery or five-year separation, it’s still possible to get divorced without your spouse’s consent.
Often, the simplest way of resolving this will be to serve a copy of the Divorce Petition and a D10 on the Respondent. Once this has been done and a process server has provided a statement swearing that they received the documents, the divorce will be able to proceed.
Alternatively, if you have proof that the Respondent has received the paperwork, you may even be able to proceed without such a statement.
If you relied on adultery, it’ll be necessary to prove that the Respondent committed this act, however, and whilst this is possible, it can become difficult and the best option can be changing your grounds.
What if you don’t know your spouse’s address?
If someone is unaware of their spouse’s current whereabouts but wants to file for a divorce, they may be able to do so. They will, however, need to make reasonable efforts to try and discover their address. Typical steps include contacting their friends and family, checking the electoral register and even utilising private detectives.
In the event that these efforts result in the discovery of the Respondent’s whereabouts, it is advisable that they are contacted and asked if they will consent to the divorce as their response will either prevent you from using or make it inadvisable to use certain grounds.
If you can’t find their address
If you’re unable to find your spouse’s address, you can request that the courts allow you to pursue a divorce without them being notified. Such applications are far more common than you’d think and, provided the relevant documentation is completed correctly, are usually allowed to proceed.
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