Divorce Proceedings & Process Servers
Divorce Proceedings & Process Servers

If you’re considering divorce, it can be a confusing time. Not only are you going through a range of emotions, but you also have strict legal processes that you have to adhere to – if you don’t, then the divorce won’t actually go through, and you could end up dragging the whole thing out for a lot longer than needed.

Sometimes you’ll need the help of a process server, which might be a private investigator – specialist process servers aren’t common and private investigators are often the best equipped for the job anyway.

In this guide we’ll explain the divorce proceedings and when you might need our help, and if you’re looking for process serving in Manchester, or the surrounding region, or indeed anywhere in the UK, you’ll know that we’re an option you can rely on.

Initiating The Divorce

The first thing you need to do if you want a divorce is you’ll need to fill out an application. Traditionally this would be done using forms D8 and submitted through the post, and that is still an option. But these days, most people will submit everything online through the HMCTS website.

The forms will then be checked, and proceedings will only continue if everything has been filled out correctly. So make sure you’ve double checked before submitting!

If you’ve applied jointly with your partner, the process is then a little smoother. You’ll both receive a notice that the application has been issued, along with a case number and an acknowledgement receipt. You’ll then need to wait 20 weeks before you can continue by applying for a conditional order – just in case you change your mind.

If you’re applying on your own, then you’ll get the notice and case number, while your partner will be sent the divorce application and an ‘acknowledgement of service’ notification. They need to respond to this within 14 days to either agree with the divorce, or state their intention to dispute it.

But if they don’t reply, that’s where we come in.

Process Serving & Acknowledgements of Service

Once the 14 day period expires, the court will tell you what you need to do, and usually that means using a court bailiff or process service to serve the papers to your partner.

Choosing a private investigator like EJM Investigations is the best option because we’ll use our whole range of skills to try and get the process moving quickly for you.

We’ll attempt personal service – handing over the documents in-person. If they are no longer at the address you’ve provided, then we can offer tracing services to find them, something court bailiffs won’t be able to do.

If we find out that they are still at the address (typically by speaking to the neighbours, who can be a helpful bunch) then we’ll try a second visit. If that fails, we’ll send a letter of appointment to try and arrange a time to deliver the papers.

If that fails, we can then post the documents through the letterbox, and provide a statement to the court showing that we know they would have received the papers that way. You need that legal statement as proof – you can’t just post the documents yourself.

We can also look to serve the papers personally in a secondary location – it doesn’t have to be their home address. If you know where they work, for example, or if they are staying with family, we could serve them there.

Once the papers are served, that’s our role done in most cases. The court will then consider that they have been properly served and will allow proceedings to continue, even if they don’t respond to the acknowledgment of service within the following 14 days.

What Happens Next?

From there, it all depends on whether your partner agrees or disputes the divorce. If they agree – or they don’t bother to respond – then you’ve just got to wait out the 20 week period before you can apply for a conditional order.

If they dispute it, then they’ll need to give genuine legal reasons why by completing an ‘answer form’. They can’t dispute it just because they don’t want it or because they want to slow everything down – that’ll be rejected and the 20-week period will roll on.

Once you get to the conditional order stage, you’re still considered married but you’re getting closer to finalising things. You’ll submit the application and it will be reviewed by a judge, which can take a few weeks still. If they then agree, you’ll be sent the certificate needed.

At this stage, there’s one more waiting period – you need to wait 43 days before applying to finalise the divorce completely, and formally end the marriage.

Is a Process Server Always Needed?

Process servers aren’t always needed for divorces. A lot of applications are made jointly, where a marriage breaks down and both partners agree it needs to end. And even when it’s a sole applicant, a lot of partners will respond to the documents to allow proceedings to continue.

But, sadly, some people will drag their feet or try to avoid replying. Or they might just not be bothered to reply. And that can hold things up, which can be a huge inconvenience and be emotionally draining too.

That’s when you do need process serving help, and choosing a private investigator is the best way to fast-track everything and make sure you aren’t ‘put through the ringer’ for any longer than you need to be.

If you need a process server in Manchester, or you’re looking for process serving help throughout the north west of England or around the rest of the UK, then give us a call and we can make sure we deliver your papers in a timely and efficient manner, with all the necessary evidence to ensure there are no more bumps in the road.

Call us on 0161 706 0135 to discuss your situation and we’ll take it from there.