Whilst on a basic human level, naming the co-respondent seems logical, maybe even obvious and necessary; as specialist family solicitors we advise our clients not to include this information in a divorce petition.
To begin with, there is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales and that is that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. The ground currently has to be supported by one of five facts; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, separation of two years and both parties consent to the divorce, separation of five years and desertion. The laws are going to change and soon enough the five facts will not be required to proceed with a divorce.
Currently, adultery can only be relied upon when
a) a party to the marriage has sexual relations with another person of the opposite sex;
b) that you petition within 6 months of first learning about the adultery if you continue to live with your spouse; and
c) you are not the person who has had the affair.
The Family Proceedings Rules 1991 state that there is no need to name the co-respondent unless you intend to make a claim for costs against them. Costs are limited to a few hundred pounds and therefore generally it is not worth it.
The benefits of not naming the co-respondent in a divorce are:
- By naming them, they become a party to the proceedings and therefore have to be served with the divorce papers and acknowledge them. This can become complex as they may try to avoid service of the divorce petition and a process server will then have to become involved which is an additional cost.
- Once the co-respondent receives the divorce petition, they may not co-operate in returning the papers to the court. This can delay the proceedings.
- The client has more control. The spouse who has committed the adultery may wish to remarry the co-respondent and thus seek a swift exit which can be beneficial for negotiations in financial proceedings.
The Family department at Emery Johnson Astills may not be able to help you with your past, although we are able to recommend trained specialists that may be able to , but we are skilled in guiding And supporting clients through a divorce and financial settlement.
The court is not concerned about the reason for the breakdown of your marriage when it comes to the financial proceedings or the children. Therefore, reliance on the fact of adultery is sufficient to proceed with the divorce and shaming a respondent and co-respondent further will only create more acrimony and hostilities .
If you or somebody you know is seeking to get divorced, call one of our specialist family solicitors at Emery Johnson Astills on 0116 2554855 and we can guide you through the process and provide you with advice and representation.