Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996
Safeguards to ensure respondent’s awareness of alternatives to divorce proceedings and to assist attempts at reconciliation.
7.— (1) In this section “ the respondent” means a person who is the respondent in proceedings in the court under section 5 .
(2) If a solicitor is acting for the respondent, the solicitor shall, as soon as may be after receiving instructions from the respondent in relation to the proceedings concerned under section 5 —
( a) discuss with the respondent the possibility of a reconciliation and give to him or her the names and addresses of persons qualified to effect a reconciliation between spouses who have become estranged,
( b) discuss with the respondent the possibility of engaging in mediation to help to effect a separation (if the spouses are not separated) or a divorce on a basis agreed between the respondent and the other spouse F9 [ , give to the respondent the names and addresses of persons who provide a mediation service for spouses who have become estranged and inform the respondent of the matters referred to in sections 10 and 11 of the Mediation Act 2017 ], and
( c) discuss with the respondent the possibility (where appropriate) of effecting a separation by means of a deed or agreement in writing executed or made by the applicant and the other spouse and providing for their separation.
(3) Such a solicitor shall also ensure that the respondent is aware of judicial separation as an alternative to divorce where a decree of judicial separation is not in force in relation to the respondent and the other spouse.
(4) If a solicitor is acting for the respondent—
( a) the memorandum or other document delivered to the appropriate officer of the court for the purpose of the entry of an appearance by the respondent in proceedings under section 5 shall be accompanied by a F9 [ statutory declaration made by the solicitor ] in relation to the matter and, if the document is not so accompanied, the court may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it considers reasonable to enable the solicitor to engage in the discussions specified in subsection (2) and, if appropriate, to make the applicant aware of judicial separation,
( b) if paragraph (a) is complied with, any copy of the document aforesaid given or sent to the other party to the proceedings or his or her solicitor shall be accompanied by a copy of the relevant F9 [ statutory declaration ] aforesaid.
(5) F10 [ … ]