You will have received a copy of your spouse’s initial application for divorce, a copy of their statement of arrangements and 2 copies of Form 6 - Acknowledgement of Service (Word doc) (PDF).

You now need to return the acknowledgement of service form to the court with your response to the initial application.

There are 5 possible grounds on which your spouse can seek a divorce as laid down in the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 2003. These are:

  • you have committed adultery and the applicant finds it intolerable to live with you;

  • you have behaved in such a way that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with you;

  • you have deserted the applicant for a continuous period of at least 2 years before they applied for a divorce;

  • both parties have lived apart for a continuous period of more than 2 years (2 years separation), and you consent to a divorce;

  • the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 5 years before applying for a divorce.

What do I need for the acknowledgement of service form?

You will need to state that you have seen and read the application form, as well as when you received it.

The main thing you need to decide is whether or not you intend to defend the application or whether you consent to it.

Where do I send the acknowledgement of service to?

You will need to fully complete both acknowledgement of service forms and return them to the High Court.

Please ensure you have answered all necessary questions to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Directions for Trial (special procedure) Undefended applications

If you have submitted your Acknowledgement of Service form stating that you do not intend to defend the case, the applicant will submit an Application for Directions for Trial (special procedure) (Word doc) (PDF) along with an Affidavit of Evidence.

The court will give directions for trial if it is satisfied that:

  • a copy of the application and any subsequent pleading has been duly served on every party

  • if no notice of intention to defend has been given, that the time limit for giving such notice has expired.

The Chief Registrar will then enter the proceedings on the ‘Special Procedure List’.

What goes in the Affidavit of Evidence?

Where you have chosen to submit a cross-application, there must be an affidavit of evidence submitted with the Application for Directions for Trial from both parties. This affidavit must contain information required by Form 7 Affidavit in Support of Application:

together with correlative evidence on which you intend to rely. This is to verify the contents of any statement of arrangements that you have filed.

The Chief Registrar will then enter the proceedings on the ‘Special Procedure List’.

Once any issues are sorted out, the applicant (and you on cross-application) can then apply for applications for directions for trial (special procedure) and have the case listed by the Chief Registrar.

Directions appointments

Directions appointments are initial hearings where the Deemster can set out any instructions he/she wants to give.

At a directions hearing, the Deemster may give directions in regards to:

  • future course of proceedings, e.g. whether any more directions appointments will be required

  • ordering discovery (pre-trial litigation process during which each party requests relevant information and documents from the other side in an attempt to "discover" pertinent facts)

  • any other proceedings connected to your divorce proceedings such as financial provision, or arrangements for children of the family

Several directions hearings may be necessary to enable the Deemster to have all the relevant information available to him/her so he can make his/her decision.

At this stage the divorce application is the only one being decided. Although you have submitted a statement of arrangements for children, this is only a statement. Any Financial Provision or arrangements for children are separate applications and are dealt with separately. Unless the court raises concerns under s25 (1) of the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 2003, your Divorce proceedings cannot be held up by any other proceedings regarding children.

The applicant can apply to have the provisional order made final from 6 weeks after the date of issue. If they have not applied after 3 months from the date of issue, you can then apply.

How do I apply to make the provisional order final?

You need to get a copy of Form 9 - Application for Provisional Order to be made Final (Word doc) (PDF) and submit it to the court.

When the court receives your application, the Chief Registrar will search the court records to make sure he is satisfied that:

  • there has been no application for revocation, re-hearing, appeal from the respondent, or the dismissal of an application is still pending

  • it has been 3 months since the provisional order was made

  • no order extending the time for an application to the Staff of Government Division (appeals) to appeal against the order or a dismissal of the order

  • no application from the above still pending;

  • the court has complied with s 25(1) of the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 2003; and

  • that the court has no revoked the order under S9 (2) to (4) of the Act

How long have I got to submit my application?

You have up until 12 months after your provisional order is issued to apply for it to be made final. If you apply after 12 months you must:

  • give reasons for the delay

  • state whether you and the applicant have lived together in the last 12 months

  • state whether or not the wife has given birth to any child since the provisional order was issued, whether or not it is a child of the family.

The Deemster may ask you to submit an affidavit if he/she feels that your reasons are not acceptable. You should note that the second and third point could result in the provisional decree being nullified, and you having to start the divorce process from the initial application stage again.

When the Chief Registrar is happy, he will issue a final order, which will include a statement of the precise time it was issued, and will then send both you and the respondent a certified copy. A copy will also be kept on file.

Any additional copies of the final order can be obtained for a fee from the General Registry.

You will have received either Form 12 or Form 13 along with an affidavit from the applicant in this application. Once you have received it you must file and serve an affidavit in answer containing full particulars of your property and income.

I am the respondent in the divorce application – can I apply for financial provision?

Yes. The applicant will probably have stated what financial relief they intended to apply for in the initial application for divorce. You can make an application in Form 12 – Application for Financial Provision (Word doc) (PDF).

When you have made your application, you will need to follow the applicant procedure. Information on this can be found here.

What happens if the applicant and I agree by consent to an order?

If you want to agree to the application made by the applicant then you should contact the applicant and agree to an order by consent.

The applicant or you if you are filing an application for a consent order, must also file with the application:

  • 2 copies of a draft consent order in the terms sought, 1 of which must be signed by you and the applicant

  • a statement of information (which may be more than one document) which shall include:

    1. The duration of the marriage, the age of both parties and of any minors or dependent children of the family

    2. An estimate of the approximate value of the capital resources and net income of both parties and any minor child of the family

    3. What arrangements are intended for the accommodation of each of the parties and any minor child of the family

    4. Whether either party has remarried or intends to remarry or cohabit with another person

    5. If the order includes a pension sharing annex, a statement confirming the person responsible for the pension has been served with documents under rule 67(11) and that no objection has been received within 14 days

    6. Where the terms provide for a transfer of property, a statement confirming that any mortgagee of that property has been served with a notice of the application, and no objection has been received

    7. Any other especially significant matters.

Open Proposals

Normally no less than 14 days before the date fixed by the court for the final hearing, you will receive a set of open proposals from the applicant. This is an open statement which sets out concise details, including the amounts involved and the orders the applicant seeks the court to make.

Normally within 7 days of being served with these open proposals, you must file and serve on the court and the applicant an open statement in response, setting out concise details including amounts involved, of the orders the applicant has asked the court to make.

The judge’s decision

The judge shall, after completing any investigation under rule 61, make such order as he/she thinks just.

Pending the final determination of the application, a judge may make an interim order upon such terms as he/she thinks just.

Application to vary/revoke a Financial Provision Order

If you cannot afford to pay the maintenance instalments for any reason, you must bring this to court: non payment will result in action being taken against you. Over time, the circumstances that the original order was made under can change. If you feel that your circumstances have changed to the point where you can no longer pay the maintenance, you should apply to the court to vary the order.

If you wish to change the amount you are paying in maintenance then you need to fill in, and file and serve on both the court and the other party Form FB2 – Application for Variation of Order.

The following are some examples of where the court may decide that the order should be varied:-

  • you may have lost your job, or had your salary reduced

  • you have a long term illness that is preventing you from working

  • you have another/new family to provide for in addition to your child maintenance

  • the other parent/guardian of the child has remarried or is co-habiting with another person

  • the other parent/guardian of the child has come into a large sum of money

  • you are in serious financial debt.

These are just a few examples of a situation that may lead to the court varying an order; you should consult with an advocate with regards to your situation.

This application will need to be submitted along with an Affidavit of means which will include details of changes since the original order was made.

Please remember that this section of the website can only provide you with a general idea of what is likely to happen. The website cannot explain everything about court rules, costs and procedures which may affect different matters in different ways. Court staff can provide you with information, tell you about court forms and procedures, but they cannot give you legal advice. You should seek legal advice from an advocate. A list of Manx advocates is available through the Isle of Man Law Society .

Page last updated on 31 March 2023