Changes to the Divorce Petition

On the 7th August 2017 Parliament introduced significant changes to the divorce petition used to apply for divorce in England and Wales. The new form became compulsory in courts on the 4th September 2017. Changes were introduced to simplify the process and make divorce more accessible to unrepresented couples and includes guidance notes throughout. The layout is clear to understand and is said to be a precursor to plans for online divorce.

9 Points you should know about the new divorce petition

  1. The new form makes reference to the ‘Applicant’ and the ‘Petitioner’. These legal terms mean the same thing; the person applying for the Divorce.
  2. It contains a new and specific confidentiality clause which allows a party to withhold their contact details, provided they file a confidential form.
  3. It includes individual boxes for recording solicitor’s details.
  4. It amends the jurisdiction clause which now includes all the legal grounds, rather than simply accepting that the parties are habitually resident in England and Wales.
  5. It includes summary notes which explain the circumstances where the court accepts that a couple might be living apart even whilst living under the same roof. This has probably presented a challenge to the court, and parties alike; but is reflective, in our view, of modern day living where a couple may choose to separate, but circumstances dictate they have to live together until they can move out or sell.
  6. It includes a revised ‘prayer for financial claims’ which removes the specific list and abbreviates the claims of the Petitioner and those made on behalf of any children.
  7. It includes a ‘statement of truth’ in place of the signature that was traditionally used by the Petitioner, or a Solicitor on the Petitioner’s behalf.
  8. It provides clarity on costs orders and when these can be applied for.
  9. It removes the need to include the names and dates of birth of any children from the divorce petition.

At Emery Johnson Astills our family team recognise that divorce is a very difficult situation. For further information and advice on this form, and other matters eg. children, and finances; please contact us on 0116 255 4855 or visit