Marriage is full of ups and downs: celebrations receiving a sparkly engagement ring and marking each passing year with an anniversary; and sometimes, sadly, relationship breakdown and break up. Time passes by quickly when you are having fun, but it can be painfully slow if a stressful separation is not handled carefully and efficiently.
One of the main causes of delay in the divorce process – based on results revealed earlier this month – is a need by divorce centres to send back flawed or inaccurate divorce petitions. “Nationally, broadly 40% of petitions had to be returned for correction.” It is unclear what the base numbers, but what is extremely clear is that the common application mistakes are not at all difficult to avoid. They do not require a huge amount of money to fix. They do not need a whole lot of time and energy either. They simply require a little care and attention.
The top error is the lack of any enclosed fee. Whether caused by oversight or confusion, this petty application defect should not come at the expense of the lives of newly separated ex-spouses waiting eagerly for their freedom and peace of mind. Other reasons for returned documents include: incorrect marriage details (names, places, dates), incomplete jurisdiction pages, inconsistent grounds or more than one ground for divorce selected, insufficient detail about the statement of case, no proper marriage certificate received (either only a photocopy, or there is no translation provided where relevant), absence of certificate of reconciliation from a solicitor and of fee remission contribution, and lastly, inadequate service details (where to send the petition so the other party receives it and the divorce can proceed).
And it is not simply the application procedure itself that is at risk of evolving into a giant hurdle. This is not merely a matter of expediting and accelerating. For every hour that goes to waste, a time bomb is slowly but surely getting built and activated – to the extent that ultimately down the road it will take a toll on the divorce outcome itself.
For one, the postponement could add insult to injury. Distance between former partners is obviously a natural result of the situation, but the more unnecessary delay there is, the less likely they can salvage civil relations between them either as co-parents and friends. The prolonged limbo that precludes a status of “official divorcee” may also cause some discomfort once the pursuit of a new relationship begins. Also, more and more people get dragged into the commotion unnecessarily.
But why do these errors happen over and over again, when all it takes is a little care and attention to avoid them? Well, life isn’t that simple. When you’re divorcing you have a million and one things to think about – where will you live, what about finances, what about the children, what do I do now? The last thing you have time for is to worry about a missing comma or a misspelling of the place you married. And it’s highly unlikely you’re a legal expert who can successfully navigate through the very specific meanings of each of the grounds for divorce or the reasons on which to base the jurisdiction without extra stress and worry.
That’s why our advice is always to seek out the best advice you can afford – it’s not just peace of mind for today, it’s an investment in your future. Proper, thorough advice from an experienced legal professional will benefit you and your family in the long run and avoid wasting any more of your precious time.