Unfortunately, spouses ignoring divorce papers is a common problem with divorce. A spouse is either refusing to acknowledge the divorce or wants to inflict one last upset on their partner by not signing the divorce papers. Whatever the reason, it may seem you are stuck until they come round.
How to prevent your spouse from holding up the divorce proceedings
Anticipate the possibility that they may refuse to cooperate. Use the reason for the divorce as their unreasonable behaviour. Using the grounds of your spouses’ adultery or two years separation will require their active cooperation to progress your divorce.
If you have been separated for 2 years, and your spouse will agree to the divorce. You should get something in writing from them stating the dates you separated. This can then be used as evidence to back your case. If they just verbally agree, and then change their mind. You will have to re-apply for the divorce using unreasonable behavior as the reason.
Using unreasonable behaviour will simply require you to satisfy the court that they have received the papers. Assuming that you have applied for divorce on the basis of your spouses’ unreasonable behaviour. Your options in terms of progressing your divorce without them completing and returning their Acknowledgment of Service are as follows:-
You pay an additional fee (presently £110) and instruct the court bailiff to re-serve your divorce petition on your spouse. Once the bailiff has effected service, you will no longer need your spouse to complete and return their Acknowledgment.
Service through a Process Server
This is very similar to instructing a court bailiff to re-serve your petition. The advantage is that the process server will often go to greater lengths to effect service. Therefore your prospects of success in this regard will be better. The downside is that instructing a process server is likely to be more costly. This could cost upwards of £150.
This is an option where you have hard evidence such as a letter, text or email from your spouse in which they confirm that they have received the divorce papers from the court. In this instance, you do not need to arrange for your petition to be re-served through a court bailiff or process server. You merely need to make a separate application for deemed service exhibiting your evidence.
This is effectively an option of last resort. It is designed to cover situations where it has proved impossible or will be impractical to confirm service through one of the other means.
One of the above options, should allow you to be able to progress your divorce to the next stage (i.e. the Decree Nisi stage) without further reference to your spouse.
They will not be required to return the Acknowledgement of Service or any other documents in order for you to complete your divorce.
Call Divorce Negotiator on 0800 177 7702 for more information on how to proceed in this situation.