Reply to a Civil Bill

I have received a Divorce civil bill. What does this mean?

If you have received Divorce papers, it means that your spouse has made an application to the courts for a Divorce order. Your spouse, who made the application, is known as the applicant and you are known as the respondent.

You should have received the following documents from your spouse:

  • A copy of the Family Law Civil Bill. This is the application document for the court judge. It will contain details about the marriage and will also set out the orders that the applicant wants the court to make.
  • A copy of your spouse’s “Affidavit of Means”. This is a statement setting out the applicant's financial circumstances.
  • A copy of your spouse’s “Affidavit of Welfare” (if there are dependent children of the marriage). This is a statement relating to the welfare of any dependent children of the marriage.
  • Form 37D (If your spouse is represented by a solicitor). This is a document stating the applicant has been advised about mediation. This must be signed and submitted by the applicant's solicitor if they have hired one to represent them.
  • Any other document filed by your spouse at the time the Family Law Civil Bill was issued. This could include previous court orders or any separation agreement. This will vary from case to case.

Things to consider

You should read all the documents you have received carefully before you make a response.

Divorce can have an impact on things such as arrangements for your children, maintenance, the family home, money, assets and pensions.

Understand more about divorce >

You will need to decide on getting professional legal advice or representing yourself. You might also consider attending mediation.

Learn more about mediation and legal help >

What do I do next?

You can learn more about the full divorce process by visiting our step-by-step guide. You can also understand the next steps for you. Information on how the respondent can reply is at step 4 of the guide.

Full divorce step by step guide >

Step 4: Respondent replies >