Has anyone had their petition for divorce refused? I have - what do I do?

(5 Posts)
NightOfTheCactus Mon 11-Nov-13 18:04:15

I'm so upset and frustrated.

Sorry - this is long, but just want to make sure I'm being clear

I've posted this in Legal Matters too - hope it's OK to post it here as well - just I could do with any advice I can get!

I petitioned for divorce a couple of months or so ago. I'm on benefits due to MH issues and am therefore skint, so instead of being represented by a solicitor, I decided to be advised by one instead, so I've selected the services I want help with and done some stuff myself.

Therefore, after my initial appointment with the solicitor where she talked to me about how to fill in the form petitioning for divorce, I filled in the form myself, then made an appointment where she checked through the form and looked at the way I filled in my grounds for divorce.

Then, after my STBXH responded, I filled in the forms to apply for the decree nisi and to back up my initial petition. Again, I made an appointment with the solicitor so she could check through the forms to make sure I'd filled them in OK.

I've filed on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. The advice that I was given by the solicitor (who is a resolution member) was to be as mild as possible in stating grounds for divorce - so I was pretty diplomatic in my grounds, but I detailed a relationship where there was a lot of anger from STBXH and anxiety from me (because of my MH problems), a lack of physical affection/intimate relationship and a lack of emotional support from STBXH.

In reality, my marriage was pretty toxic - perhaps borderline emotionally abusive - STBXH is someone who holds on to a lot of anger, so although he never physically hurt me, I got ranted at a lot, criticised, physically rejected and ridiculed. There were also times where he was OK with me, but I never felt like we were friends. My mental health has improved significantly since we split up. In the meantime, I've been fighting to keep the split as amicable as possible for DD. There has been lots of anger from STBXH and I have just got to a state with him where we are getting on alright and being friendly and respectful - and he's actually being helpful and relatively pleasant - which is great because DD has seen lots of nastiness from him towards me, and she adores her Dad - and lets face it - even though I'd cheerfully never see him again, I am always going to have a partnership with him because of DD.

We've arranged for him to spend Christmas day with us, and we've liaised so I can get presents from both of us - so I'm quite happy about how far we've come in resolving the nastiness between us.

I got a letter from the Court today - expected it to be the hearing for the Decree Nisi, but instead it was document entitled "Matrimonial Causes Rules" saying that the District Judge is not satisfied that I'm entitled to the decree sought because the particulars of behaviour do not amount to the standard required to prove this ground, and that I should file an amended petition and renew the request for directions for trial.

So I'm now thinking - what on earth do I do now?

Have I been badly advised by the solicitor? If she checked through my forms and said they were OK, but they were rejected, is that something that often happens? Should I be entitled to any free advice on the back of this - or do I just have to suck it up and come up with more money?

Do I need to start the process again from scratch?

I'm worried about what to say if I re-file. I want to keep things amicable between me and STBXH - and I don't know how I'm going to do that if I need to rake up the more nasty elements of our marriage - I really don't want to start more conflict with him because he can be really unpleasant

Just don't know what to do next - what should I do now?

If you've read this far, thanks.

chocoreturns Mon 11-Nov-13 19:19:05

does he want the divorce? If you are on speaking terms at this point and he also wants to move on for the sake of your DD perhaps you could explain to him what has happened and let him know that you intend to refile, but in order to progress the divorce you will need to say the same things, a little less tactfully. If you can, perhaps explain that you have no intention of hurting his feelings but this is the way the courts work and could he prepare himself for the necessary revisit of your relationship... if he's EA though that's going to suck, and probably not work. (I speak from experience).

However, if he's EA anyway you probably need to just speak plainly and get through it with external support.

WRT your solicitor, I have no idea but I know mine is a member of Resolution and frankly it pisses me off no end how far she tries to go to be conciliatory. Ultimately, she's advised me to suck up the cost and sacrifice my dignity for the sake of her ethics and I've about had enough of her advice!! So I can't say I'm a fan of their approach.

NightOfTheCactus Mon 11-Nov-13 19:40:28

I think he wants the divorce now. He didn't at first - but over the last couple of months he's seemed very keen to get it moving faster. That might be because he likes to be in control of things. The other possibility is that he might be in a new relationship - but I can't get to the bottom of that, and frankly it's not really my business.

I think I'm going to have to do what you suggest. Really hope it doesn't reignite the simmering anger. Things have been so much less stressful recently (and much nicer for DD).

SeparationAnxiety Mon 11-Nov-13 22:03:20

Hi - sorry to hear about your difficulties. I had my petition refused about a month ago - not for the same reason as you (I hadn't included my step-child in the statement of arrangements for children) and was devastated to receive the letter from the court saying that the judge was not minded to allow my petition (or similar wording). I felt as if I would never be allowed my divorce, which is for UB. Like you I had prepared the forms myself and asked my solicitor to review them. I went back to her for further advice and my husband and I wrote a letter together to the judge explaining why I had filled in the forms as I had. Fortunately we are on good enough terms that he agreed to this - I drafted it and we both signed it. I re-submitted the DN application at the same time and my petition was allowed and my Decree nisi is due to be read this week. So it was sorted out in the end and this doesn't really help your situation as the circumstances are different but I wanted to send my sympathy as it was a horrid feeling to receive the letter as I had spent so long trying to do the forms myself and my husband had signed the relevant paperwork and not contested (so he was agreeing to the UB statements I had made). It set my divorce back a few weeks but it is progressing now and it will for you too, whatever you need to do to resolve this particular setback. Hang in there and hope you find the right path through it.

Handywoman Mon 11-Nov-13 23:54:24

WRT UB in my case my solicitor did advise that the grounds had to be credible to proceed, for this reason. Really sorry to hear of the hitch. Go to another solicitor? Mine is drafting petition for me.

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