There have been sensationalist headlines in the press over the last week or so relating to having to name a third party to divorce proceedings where the petitioner is relying upon adultery as the cause of the marriage breakdown. This is not true! The divorce petition has been redrafted in order to make life easier for litigants in person although I would suggest that its predecessor was much more user friendly.
However, it does not require the petitioner to such proceedings to name a co-respondent. There is, as there always has been; opportunity to name the third party but best practice remains the same: naming a third party should be avoided.
An adultery petition requires evidence of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman in absence of an admission. Therefore, best practice is to establish if the proposed respondent is willing to admit to the indiscretion and if he/she is not then generally, we would advise to choose another route to dissolving the marriage.
As a Resolution accredited specialist, I observe a code of conduct which promotes a conciliatory approach to resolving family legal issues and therefore, regardless of the wording in the guide to a divorce petition, I will continue to adopt this approach. “Naming and shaming” will only inflame the situation and create more tension at a time when we should be seeking to resolve matters in pursuit of a swift and fair settlement. It also makes the third party a party to the proceedings which can in itself cause all manner of complications if they choose not to participate.
If you require advice in relation to a divorce or any other family law matter please call and speak to a member of our family team on 01793 532363.