An unopposed divorce is one in which you and your spouse work together to agree on the terms of your divorce. You will both consult with the same attorney, who will be unbiased and impartial. There is no formal trial, and only the Plaintiff appears in court to testify.
In an unopposed divorce, you and your spouse agree prior to the divorce on how to divide your assets. If you have children, you and your spouse will have to decide which parent will become the parent of primary residence, the contact rights of the other parent and maintenance to be paid towards the minor children.
A settlement agreement is then drafted with the help of our office, signed by both parties and made an order of the court.
An unopposed divorce can be finalized within 4-8 weeks, depending on the availability of the court roll, and is the best and least expensive type of divorce for all the parties concerned.
An opposed divorce is the exact opposite of an unopposed divorce, being that there are disputes regarding different aspects of the existing marriage such as the estates of the spouses, issues surrounding children or maintenance disputes. In the event of an opposed divorce, the process is much longer as the parties will have to serve correspondence via their attorneys to one another and potentially proceed to trial to have the aspects in dispute argued.
It might take 2-3 years before the matter is heard before the court.
The opposed divorce consists of various stages namely:
- Exchange of pleadings (summons and particulars of claim by the plaintiff and notice of intention to defend and plea and/or counterclaim by the Defendant);
- Application for and set down of trial date;
- Discovery of documents;
- Further discovery and particulars;
- Pre-trial conference;
The costs implication of an opposed divorce is also far-reaching as it is not as predictable as an unopposed divorce and will depend on the nature of the disputes.