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Resolution criticises Government's new divorce petition

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The Government’s latest divorce petition, which reportedly includes a section encouraging the “naming and shaming” of adulterers, has been criticised by family law foundation Resolution.

The revamped petition, which was launched earlier this month, features a number of noticeable changes in comparison with the old-style petitions used previously in England and Wales.

According to reports, in an optional column under Section 8 of the form, applicants seeking a divorce are invited, with “no obligation,” to give the name of “the person [their] spouse has committed adultery with.”

Family law foundation Resolution has criticised this aspect of the form, claiming that the petitioning party is unlikely to realise that they are not obligated to complete the “naming and shaming” section.

A spokesperson on behalf of the organisation has warned that naming a third party in such matters is prone to “increase conflict” for many Britons during an already difficult time.

“There's no need. But because the box is there, the indication will be to fill it in,” she said.

In response to the criticisms, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has insisted that Section 8 of the form is clearly marked as being ‘optional’.

In fact, the contentious question in the form is followed by the words: “People do not generally name the person their spouse committed adultery with”.

The section adds that, if the petitioner has not mentioned the co-respondent previously in Section 7 of the form, then they do not need to specifically name them in Section 8 either.  

MFG Solicitors’ family team can advise on divorce, related financial disputes and all other aspects of family law. For more information, please contact us.