Family and Personal Law
These are the most common questions we have encountered in our practice areas. For your convenience, the questions along with the answers are merely intended for informational assistance. Every person’s problem is unique and deserves individualized attention.
For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.
An unopposed divorce is one which has not been defended by your spouse. The relief sought in your particulars of claim will usually be granted by a court hearing the unopposed divorce. If your spouse has not defended the divorce action after 10 working days from the summons being served on them, you can ask the court to set the divorce action down on the court roll for an unopposed divorce to be heard.
An unopposed divorce can also happen where the matter has been defended but the parties have reached agreement on the settlement of the divorce action, or where the matter has been defended but your spouse has been barred from delivering his Plea in reply to the relief requested in the Particulars of Claim.
After 10 working days from service of the summons on your spouse, if the matter is not defended then you can immediately ask the court to set the divorce action down on the court roll for an unopposed divorce. The date you will likely get is dependent on how full the court roll is for the next few months, but you can ordinarily expect to get a date within 1 or 2 months. On the actual day that the unopposed divorce is heard, the matter should not take much longer than half an hour at the most from when your matter is called by the court, and the divorce should ordinarily have been granted before the end of the morning depending on how long the court roll is on the day in question.
The issued summons and particulars of claim is served personally on your spouse by the sheriff. After 10 working days where the divorce action is not defended, the matter can be set down on the court roll at a later date for an unopposed divorce.
In all divorce actions the court is required to hear oral evidence. You will enter the witness box and an attorney/advocate will lead you through your evidence that you give to the court. This evidence sets out for the court the circumstances of the breakdown of the marriage and discloses whether there is any agreement on settlement of the divorce and what arrangements are in placed for the parenting of any minor children.NB: Don’t forget to bring your original marriage certificate or the presiding officer may refuse to divorce you and will adjourn the matter to another date instead. Where a settlement agreement and parenting plan has been drafted and signed, this would ordinarily be sent to the local Family Advocate’s office prior to the court date for an endorsement by their offices of the arrangements in respect of the minor children. Once the presiding officer has confirmed the decree of divorce, you are effectively divorced from that moment.
Once the divorce is granted by the presiding officer, the court file will go to the court typist to type up and officially stamp the court order before it is then sent through to the offices of your attorney. On average you can expect the divorce order to be received within 2 weeks from the date of divorce.
The cost of a divorce will vary depending on the legal fee rate of your attorneys and the amount of work done by them in finalising the divorce.
In a High Court divorce an advocate is usually briefed to appear on the date of the unopposed divorce, and their fee will also vary depending on your area and on their seniority. For an unopposed divorce you can request that your attorney brief a cost-effective junior advocate, as it is not a complicated process.