Divorce Made Simple 2 – Pre Action Protocol

Before Issuing proceedings you are obliged to follow certain legal rules and I would say it is also worth bearing in mind a few other simple rules for your own peace of mind and sanity.

These simple practical rules apply to dissolution of civil partnerships (for same sex couples) as they do for marriages

The Non -Legal Rules

Think about this – you may be angry, you may be upset, you may want revenge, you may want to hurt your spouse like they have hurt you……but it does not get you anywhere.

A Solicitor makes MORE money the more angry that you are. This is simply because you instruct your Solicitor to take a course of action that is primarily designed to antagonise of anger or hurt your former spouse and that will have the desired effect more often than not.

The net result? Your spouse will instruct his/her solicitor to write equally inflammatory letters (they will say only to protect their client’s position – and they do have a point) and the outcome is that there is a flurry of hostile communication going back and forth faster that a shuttle train and you don’t feel any better and you certainly will not feel any better when your invoice arrives, that is for sure.

So here are my 3 simple non legal rules:

1. Do not use your Solicitor as a weapon but rather as a means to an end (ie get you your divorce in the most painless and cost effective way possible

2. I know this is hard ( I speak from personal experience) but try to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself

3. Resist the temptation to “fight back” – think instead of your children and how they will view all this in years to come – and if you have no children – think how YOU  will feel in years to come having expending thousands of pounds paying lawyers what could have ultimately be done in a fraction of the cost with the same lawyer if you had not been so hostile etc.

The legal bit – the pre-action protocol:

The courts do expect you to follow this and it makes sense. In simple terms

1. As I explained in my Divorce Made Simple 1 blog you will have already attended a MIAM ( mediation information and advice meeting) and at least attempted to resolve matters through mediation. If you have not already done so, you must do this first unless you meet certain criteria such as there has been incidents of domestic violence in your marriage and that they have been reported to the Police.

2. Prepare the allegations in your draft petition (application for a divorce) in the least contentious way possible – it does not change the truth but it does save on lawyers feels ultimately. For example, in a behaviour petition, it is not necessary to cite each and every allegation or complaint you have against your spouse, several – perhaps 3 or 4 max points will suffice.

3. Then send the draft of the petition to your spouse and allow then 14 days in which to reply with suggestions for change. Accept any reasonable requests I would say (again to save on lawyers fees and hostility).

4. Then and only then (except in exceptional circumstances) should you issue your petition for divorce

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat


0207 183 2898

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