Do I have to tell the other person before I can get divorced?

If you are applying for a divorce, the Court will need you to prove that you have given the responding party notice of the petition. Usually, the responding party, or Respondent, will sign a form sent by the Court with the divorce petition, which is called the Acknowledgement of Service form. This will let the Court know that they have had the divorce papers, and will also confirm whether they intend to defend or contest the divorce.

In situations where the Acknowledgement of Service form has not been sent back in, the Court will need proof that the Respondent has had a copy of the divorce petition. There are a number of ways of doing this, from paying for a specialist agent to personally serve the papers, to applying for an order of Deemed Service. The latter applies in situations where you might have other evidence that the papers have been received.

You may want to speak to a solicitor to discuss whether notice should be given before a divorce petition is sent to Court, or not. There may be issues of safety, or concerns about delay that may mean this isn’t possible. There may also be issues to consider, such as trying to agree a petition with your ex first before a divorce petition is issued. This is something to speak to a qualified and experienced specialist family solicitor about.