Family court judge rejects 28 identical ‘DIY’ divorce applications

Family law specialists have warned about the dangers of using unregulated legal services after a number of identical divorce petitions were rejected by the family court this month.

It comes after Mr Justice Moor turned down 28 Do it Yourself (DIY) divorce applications that failed to meet the minimum legal requirement for separation.

According to the report, each petition – created using the same unregulated legal service provider – gave an identical reason for seeking divorce.

The applications claimed that their spouse or partner had become “moody without justification” and “would ignore them” throughout the week.

The full petition reads: “For about a year prior to the separation the respondent would become moody without justification and argumentative towards the petitioner. He/ she would behave in this way on at least a couple of days every week, which would cause a lot of tension within the home thereby making the petitioner’s life very uncomfortable.”

Commenting on the applications, Mr Justice Moor said: “Different spouses behave in different ways. It is quite impossible for each of 28 respondents to have behaved in exactly the same way as the other 27.

“It follows that I have no alternative but to dismiss all twenty-eight of these divorce petitions.”

In England and Wales, it is a legal requirement to attribute blame, such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion, to prove that a marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The report comes ahead of the introduction of no-fault divorce in 2022. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act will remove the requirement for couples to attribute blame, which may help partners avoid unnecessary conflict and increase the chances of successful non-court dispute resolution.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at alison.green@mackrell.com

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.