A contested divorce is where one party disputes the divorce proceedings brought by another party.
It is very rare for a divorce to be contested, as it is difficult to persuade the Court not to grant a divorce.
However, in some circumstances, it may be appropriate to defend (dispute) divorce proceedings.
Some common reasons for this are as follows.
Delaying the divorce process
In certain situations, some Respondents may wish to give their spouse time to reflect and maybe reconsider the divorce. The Respondent may, therefore, choose to defend proceedings temporarily before dissolving their marriage.
Defending against untrue allegations
In many instances, a Respondent may disagree with the contents of a divorce petition. This is especially applicable where these allegations have a bearing on any financial settlements or child arrangements.
Defending a divorce so that the Respondent can cross-petition
A Respondent has the right to issue their own petition for divorce to the court. This can be due to a matter of principle, or because they believe the pleaded grounds for divorce are inaccurate. For example, a petitioner could have alleged that the marriage has broken down as a result of adultery, but the Respondent may believe that the marriage has broken down due to unreasonable behaviour.
Defending a divorce can have serious cost implications, and is therefore not a decision to be taken lightly.
At Specters, our specialist family solicitors can help you. We offer competitive rates to assist you with your divorce matter. You may be eligible for our free initial 30 minute consultation, as well as a second 30 minute consultation for £50.
To get a divorce, you must be able to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You must be able to prove the following:
- Your spouse has acted unreasonably;
- Your spouse has committed adultery;
- Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years;
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least two years and you are both in agreement to the divorce proceedings;
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least five years.
A standard divorce can take between 6-8 months, provided that it is not contested. If a divorce is contested then this timescale will be longer and it will depend on when outstanding issues are resolved.
If matters are uncontested, and you have already agreed with your former partner your divorce and financial arrangements, there will be no requirement for you to attend court. Your divorce will be processed based on your paperwork. If you not agreed on part or all of your financial arrangements, you will be obliged to attend Court.
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