Divorce question

Hello, I'm new here.

My wife and I have effectively lived apart but under the same roof for the last 6 years (nearly). At the beginning of this year, we went to see a mediator having agreed it was time to move on with our lives in separate directions. We agreed with the mediator on a course of action. I would petition her for divorce on the grounds of adultery, we would work out a financial agreement which would mean selling our house after 27 years, and move on. I did as agreed and petitioned for divorce. She responded but the Court returned the form as one section was either incomplete or incorrect. Since then she has done nothing with it and when I remind her, it always ends up in a row. That, briefly, is the background. The question is what are my options for forcing her to respond to the Court. We have both agreed that we do not want to spend money on lawyers but, given the position, what alternatives do I have. I hope someone can point me in the right direction.

Many thanks.

You can't force your wife to

You can't force your wife to return the A/s to the court.

The extent of your problem depends on whether you have evidence of her adultery which you can put before the court if she fails to return the A/s to the court and/or fails to admit the adultery alleged in the A/s

If you do have other evidence eg a signed confession statement from her, or evidence from an enquiry agent, you can arrange for personal service of the petition upon her ( you can't serve her yourself,  service has to be via the court bailiff or an enquiry agent) or ask for an order that she be deemed to have been served.   After that step, you can apply for Decree Nisi using your other evidence to prove the adultery.

However, if you are relying on your wife's admission of adultery within the A/s to progress your case to Decree Nisi, you are not going to be able to prove your case unless you can persuade her to co operate and sign and return the A/s with an appropriate admission of adultery

If you were living separately albeit under the same roof for so many years before beginning divorce proceedings, I wonder why you and your wife didn't choose one of the no fault bases for divorce such as living apart for 2 years?

In any case, do you know why your wife is choosing not to co operate?  Is it perhaps because of an issue over the costs and who should pay these or is it something else?

Retired solicitor with 30+ years experience of family law but what I say should not be relied on as legal advice

Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments. I didn't think the living apart reason would be valid as we still "live" under the same roof and sometimes share meals. The adultery was agreed to be used as the grounds for divorce in front of the mediator. It was also at that time that I agreed to be the petitioner (and pay the costs of the issuing the petition). The last time I raised the issue of the reply to the petition, she said she would consider it when I had painted the back door! I suspect that living in a nice house where I am paying the bills may be an attractive proposition, particularly as the split of equity from the proceeds of the house sale would not provide sufficient funds for us each to go and buy our new homes.

It is possible to petition

It is possible to petition for divorce on the grounds that you have lived separate and apart but under the same roof; however, you do have to convince the court that your living arrangements have been sufficiently separate to constitute "living apart".     This would normally involve eating separately though I wouldn't expect some meal sharing to be fatal to your claim

In any event, it sounds as if your wife is simply being difficult and using delaying tactics.   If you haven't got independent evidence of adultery on which to rely and if she continues to be difficult, you will have to consider amending your petition to one based on her unreasonable behaviour or possibly, the fact that you have lived apart for at least 5 years.

Retired solicitor with 30+ years experience of family law but what I say should not be relied on as legal advice

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