The government has introduced a new form in England and Wales to apply for divorce which invites the applicant to name and shame adulterers.
Although there is no actual obligation to fill in this box, the new form gives the impression that this is not the case, unless you read the small print. Applicants will also fill it in because it is there. The new box is an opportunity for the injured party to punish their cheating spouse. The guidance notes on the form advise it “is not normally necessary to name the person your spouse committed adultery with; you should only consider doing so if the petition is likely to be disputed” but how many aggrieved spouses who actually read these notes are going to ignore them?
What applicant’s often don’t know is that if someone is named on the application as having committed adultery with your husband or wife, they usually become a party to the court proceedings. This can cause an increase in costs and a delay to proceedings.
The question solicitors will be asking themselves now is what is this going to do for the legal system? We advise our client’s to keep the divorce petition as neutral as possible in order to reach a swift and amicable settlement thus keeping costs down, yet this form is an opportunity for the applicant to seek revenge which will, no doubt, invite “defended” divorces and lengthy litigation.
At Breeze and Wyles, our expert family lawyers in Essex, Hertfordshire and North London can advise how best to proceed with your divorce application so you can move forward with your life. When applying for a divorce, you must give one of these reasons – adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, you have lived apart for more than two years and your spouse agrees to the divorce or you have lived apart from your spouse for at least 5 years (your spouse does not have to agree). We can help you work through which is the most suitable option for you.
If you are wanting to divorce your spouse or formally separate from your civil partner, contact the family team on 01992 558 411 for help and advice.