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Defending the divorce

Please note that the following guide only applies to divorces started before 4pm on 5th April 2022. For divorces after this date, no fault divorce now applies.

Defending the particulars

You may feel aggrieved about what your partner has said in their divorce petition, especially if they accuse you of adultery. It is possible to defend the allegations all the way to a contested hearing. This, however, can be very expensive and will make little difference to the outcome of your case. A more pragmatic solution may be to proceed on a cross-petition, where you make your own divorce petition, citing your spouses behavior.

Defending jurisdiction

If you feel that your spouse has issued in England when they are not entitled to, or if you have already issued proceedings in another jurisdiction, then you will need to defend the jurisdiction. You start this in your reply to the petition, setting out the basic details of your challenge. Following this, the court will investigate, and will hold hearings to decide whether the case can proceed in England.

Defending the case on the grounds of jurisdiction can rely on a complex mixture of law and facts, and it is vital that you take legal advice if you are in a multi-jurisdictional dispute.

Defending on the basis that the marriage is invalid

If you are not properly married – for example if there was just an informal ceremony – then you cannot be divorced. Again, if you are defending on this basis it is important to take full legal advice. Claims that the marriage was void from the start are legally complex, and must be set out from the outset.

The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.


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