Former Partner Wouldn’t Respond to Divorce Petition

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A Divorce Case Study – Client Situation

Mrs A wanted to get a divorce but she could not find her ex-husband. He’d moved out of the country when they separated and she had no idea how to contact him. She was not even sure if he had come back to the UK since they separated.

When you apply for a divorce in England or Wales, the Court sends the divorce papers to your spouse and they have to acknowledge them to start the divorce process.

Without being able to serve the divorce papers on her husband, Mrs A could not start the divorce process.

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How We Helped

Mrs A contacted our Divorce Solicitors for legal advice and they discussed the options as being unable to contact a spouse isn’t that unusual in divorce cases.

One of the facts of divorce, commonly known as Grounds for Divorce, can be separation for more than 5 years, even if your former partner doesn’t agree with the divorce. But even in these circumstances, you cannot proceed without serving the divorce petition first.

We explained that Mrs A would have to demonstrate to the Court that she had tried everything she could to locate her husband. They discussed some of the usual ways of trying to track down a missing partner. These included instructing a tracing agent, keeping an eye on their spouse social media and contacting mutual friends. .

We informed Mrs A that she could pay someone to locate her husband for her, but Mrs A was keen to keep the divorce costs to a minimum so decided to continue on with trying to track him down herself.

We tried to contact Mrs A’s former partner many times by post and email. Mrs A also tried to contact him by email, text, Skype and Facebook but he did not respond to any messages.

The Outcome

After a year and a half from issuing the proceedings, Mrs A had almost given up trying to track him down. She had not found a new address for him and did not know where he was working either. He didn’t respond to any messages on email or on social media.

One day she was told that he was back living with his parents. Mrs A was advised to immediately instruct a Process Server. This is someone who you pay to serve legal papers for you. We instructed a process server in the same area as her husband’s parents, who would try serve the divorce petition to her former partner.

The process server continued to call at Mrs A’s former partner’s parent’s address many times until one day, he answered the door and the divorce petition was served. As soon as that happened, we could continue with the divorce proceedings and apply for the Decree Nisi and then the Decree Absolute.

Mrs A was thrilled to finally get her divorce finalised as she had almost given up hope after waiting for a year and a half.

If you are struggling to track down your former partner to serve a divorce petition, we can help you.

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