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Family court judge dismisses 28 ‘improper’ divorce petitions from online service

A recent court case flooded the legal news earlier this month, with a family court judge dismissing 28 ‘improper’ divorce petitions which had been submitted by an unregulated online divorce service.

Each of the 28 petitions alleged that the breakdown of the marriage was a result of the ex-partner becoming “moody” and causing “tension” between the parties. The examples of the party’s behaviour, which were listed in 145 words in each of the petitions, were identical.

Whilst these petitions were all lodged separately, having picked up the blatant similarities, the cases were brought together and placed in the lap of Mr Justice Moor. He did not accept the company’s explanation that each applicant had in any event approved the petitions and reflected on the impossibility that the 28 ex-partners could all have acted in the same way.

Mr Justice Moor dismissed all 28 cases and each applicant had to begin the process again. The Law Society Gazette’s article on this case can be found at Court dismisses 28 separate divorce petitions with identical wording | News | Law Gazette.

This case highlights the importance of the divorce petition and the information that is currently required. Applicants must prove to the Court that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. No relationship is the same and so the explanation as to how it has broken down clearly cannot be the same and cannot be proved using standard and unspecific wording.

Change is coming however, in the form of ‘No Fault’ divorces; dispensing with the need to use what can often be a combative and challenging process resulting from the requirement to detail a party’s behaviour. Instead, a Court will accept as ‘fact’ that the marriage has irretrievably broken down upon the submission of a divorce petition.

We are hopeful that this change will come as expected in April 2022, and in the meantime, we are here to work with you, at any stage of the process and whenever you need us.

Want to know more? Please get in touch with our Family Team on 01633 413500 or hannah.curtis@rdplaw.co.uk

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