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Have Been Served with Divorce Petition - Do I Need To See Solicitor?

(4 Posts)
KrispyKreme Sat 12-Sep-09 20:43:31

H & I have agreed to separate, and I have just received a divorce petition in the post from his solicitor.

I have already had one session to get some advice from a solicitor and we were going to start mediation but waiting for an appointment.

Do I need to see my solicitor again before I sign the petition? And do I have to send it back by a certain date, because the letter didn;t say so?

I'm also a bit confused about whether I would qualify for legal aid because at first I thought not but the mediation service thinks I probably will. Is there an easy way to find out? The solicitor I used initially doesn;t do legal aid work.

KrispyKreme Sat 12-Sep-09 21:07:53


mumoverseas Sun 13-Sep-09 08:15:19

sounds like it came as a suprise your H suddenly issuing his petition. A bit odd bearing in mind you were going to go to mediation, you'd have thought he'd have waited.

Ref the petition, the form you need to complete is the acknowledgement of service form and it should say with the papers the timescale for returning which is within 14 days.
If you have instructed a solicitor then you should speak to him/her as if they are formally acting for you and will be on record with the Court then they should sign the form on your behalf.
In particular, you need to check whether your H is seeking costs against you (ie you to pay his costs and Court fees). Check in the 'prayer' at the back of the petition and this will say whether he is seeking costs or whether he has deleted this section. If you had agreed to divorce and all amicable then the normal agreement would be that you each pay your own costs and half the court fees.
Depending on the grounds for the divorce then that depends on how you complete the form (ie if on adultery you would need to admit this and if on 2 years separation you would need to consent to this)

Ref legal aid, if there is any chance you may be eligible then you should look into it as legal aid rates far cheaper (around £55 per hour) compared to private charging rates of £150 to £200 ph depending on the level of seniority/experience of the solicitor involved. Your local CAB/County Court will be able to advise of firms in your area that have a public funding (legal aid) franchise.

Good luck

smileydee Sun 13-Sep-09 08:21:40

Agree with MOS, and would add that if you need to check whether you're eligible for public funding, go to the legal aid website (google Legal Services Commission Eligibility Calculator.)

Put in the first bit that you're applying for Legal Help (the first, basic, part of the procedure). You then insert info into the calculator & it'll tell you whether you're eligible straight away.

Good luck!

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