Various changes to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 came into force on 7 August and, very importantly, a new form D8 divorce petition started being used then and must be used from 4 September 2017. The new form is intended to make it easier for couples to fill the form in themselves and generally to speed up the process. It is suggested that already about one in three petitions for divorce is filed without legal advice.
However, some lawyers have pointed to a new prominent section for a petitioner to fill in the details of ‘the person your partner committed adultery with’, suggesting that this will lead to more people being named on the form and therefore involved as a party to the case. The trend over the past few years has been not to name other people, but Resolution believes that people filling in the form without the benefit of legal advice will be encouraged by the layout and wording of the form to do so. If that happens, this may in turn lead to more defended divorces.
For more about the changes, including a link to the amending rules, see http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed179101. For the Telegraph article about the new form, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/10/diy-divorce-form-could-lead-adultery-accusations-lawyers-warn/