Whether you have received a divorce petition and are not agreeable to the contents of the petition or the divorce itself, or whether you have received acknowledgement that your spouse wishes to defend your petition for divorce, our experienced team of solicitors at FisherWright are well equipped and possess extensive experience to represent you.
Our solicitors are empathetic, understanding and will provide practical and constructive advice to ensure that your matter is dealt with in the most amicable and cost-efficient manner possible, we will aim to ensure that any conflict is resolved with minimal hostility, without the need for lengthy court litigation wherever possible.
What is a defended divorce?
A defended divorce arises once the family Court has issued the divorce petition and the spouse either refuses to agree that the marriage has ‘irretrievably’ broken down, or alternatively, is not agreement with the contents of the divorce petition.
Should I defend my divorce?
Whilst defended divorce proceedings are relatively uncommon, they may be necessary in instances where your spouse has made serious and incorrect accusations against you which could affect you adversely in children proceedings, or proceedings for the division of your matrimonial assets; or if you believe that the divorce has been issued in an incorrect jurisdiction. Our solicitors will be able to comprehensively advise you on the merits of defending your divorce and the implications of the same.
If you are the recipient of a divorce petition the basis of which is five years separation, it may be possible for you to defend the petition if you believe that if the divorce were to be granted, it could result in ‘grave financial hardship’ to you or your family.
When should I defend divorce proceedings?
If you have received a divorce petition and wish to defend the divorce, you should seek advice from a solicitor promptly, as you will be required to notify the Court of your intention to defend within the Acknowledgement of Service in a stipulated period of 7 days. If this time period has elapsed, it will still be possible for you to defend the proceedings, however it is not advisable to ignore the deadline.
How do I defend proceedings for divorce?
There are two possible methods by which you may defend proceedings for divorce, which include filing an ‘answer’ to the petition that has been issued by your spouse, or alternatively by filing a cross-petition. Our experienced team of solicitors will be able to advise you on the most appropriate course of action depending on your personal circumstances.
The procedure for defended divorce proceedings
Step 1: Notifying the Court and your spouse of your intention to defend the divorce-Initially, you will be required to complete the Acknowledgement of Service notifying the Court of your intention to defend the divorce within the stipulated period of 7 days.
Step 2: Filing an Answer or Cross-Petition: the next step will be to file an ‘answer’/ defence outlining the reasons as to why you wish to defend the divorce within a stipulated period of 21 days. Alternatively, you may wish to proceed to file a cross-petition the Court, which is a fresh petition for divorce outlining the basis (‘fact’) of your divorce, and the reasons as to why the divorce should be granted.
Step 3: Case Management Hearing: In defended proceedings, the Court will then proceed to allocate a Case Management Hearing to establish whether both parties can mutually agree how the divorce should progress.
Step 4: Final Hearing: If both you and your spouse are unable to reach a resolution, you may be required to attend a further hearing at the Court to provide evidence (Final hearing). At this hearing both parties will cross-examined, following which a Judge will make an Order confirming whether the divorce will be granted and on which circumstances, and if applicable which petition is to proceed.
For further information regarding defended divorce proceedings, or to speak to a solicitor please contact FisherWright Solicitors today.