It is not uncommon for a couple to reach the ‘acceptance’ stage of the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage at different times and for one party to want to start a divorce whilst the other needs time to catch-up.
Because of this, there is often a question as to whether participants can change from a sole divorce application to a joint divorce application.
The new divorce regime provides a 20-week period between the issue of an application and being able to apply for the first order of divorce (called the conditional order) to allow time for reflection. Unfortunately, if during this period the respondent also reaches the ‘acceptance’ stage it is not possible to change from a sole to joint application.
The decision on whether to make a sole or joint application has to be made at the start of the proceedings. A couple however who start on a joint application basis can convert to a sole application during the proceedings. It is disappointing that this anomaly exists, preventing a couple who find themselves aligned in the acceptance of the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage from benefiting from the emotional and practical advantages of making a joint application. Hopefully a change to the legislation to rectify this anomaly won’t be long in coming.
Advice from Watson Morris
At Watson Morris we specialise in family law work closely with our clients to try and achieve the best outcome. Although there are restrictions meaning there is no way to change from a sole divorce application to a joint divorce application, we are still on your side and can be here to help in any way we can.
For more information, or to discuss your case, please contact the team today.
Written by Caroline Watson
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