Why the New “Name and Shame” Divorce Form Might Not Be a Good Idea.

Earlier this week the Ministry of Justice introduced an updated adultery related divorce form with the intention of making them more ‘user friendly’ for those applying for a divorce. In doing so, the form now includes a section inviting the person applying to provide the ‘name of the person your spouse committed adultery with’. Although the guidance on the new form says ‘people do not generally name the person their spouse committed adultery with’, the fact that the form now very clearly invites those applying to do so, means there is more likelihood the section will be completed.

In my view naming a third party in a divorce application is unhelpful, antagonistic and unnecessary. Under the previous form it was possible to simply include that a party to the marriage had committed adultery with an unnamed person. That way adultery is pursued without the unnecessary stress of having to bring the third party into proceedings. If a third party is named they are bought into the divorce proceedings, by being sent copies of the forms and other documents and they are given the opportunity to respond. It is not simply a case of just ‘naming them’ perhaps with a view to cause hurt, embarrassment or distress, which may be understandable on the part of those applying. The problem however is more often than not, the third party will refuse to sign the divorce papers; why would they sign when they are not party to the divorce and may not even accept they are the reason the marriage broke up in the first place. Their stance only serves to inevitably increase costs and cause delays in the process.

My fear is those applying may ‘seize this opportunity’ not quite realising the full consequences of their actions. I would almost always advise a client to refrain from naming the alleged adulterer for this reason.

If you would like advice on any aspect of family proceedings you can call Lisa for a free no-obligation 30 minute appointment on 01229 580956.

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