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Documentation, costs, procedure and timeframe involved in a divorce

1.     Documentation required

The following documentation should be provided by our client in order to institute or defend a divorce action.

  • Our client’s as well as the spouse’s particulars.

Note: Our client print and complete our Client information form on our website to make sure that that all the required information is received for this purpose.

  • Copies of the following documentation, which must be certified, for us to retain on our client’s file for the first consultation with our attorney:
  • Client’s ID;
  • Spouse’s ID book;
  • Original Marriage certificate;
  • Unabridged birth certificate(s) of your child(ren), if applicable;
  • Original Antenuptial contract;
  • Deeds of trust which may have a bearing on the divorce, if applicable;
  • Letters of authority of such trusts, if applicable.

 

2.     The cost of a divorce

The cost of a divorce varies on the type of divorce. This can only be discussed at our client’s first consultation with our attorney and include the following:

  • When your spouse fails to defend the summons or agrees to a settlement, also referred to as an uncontested divorce, the divorce will be finalized quickly and the legal fees will be minimal.
  • Matrimonial property systems.
  • Disputes between the spouses.
  • The nature and extent of the assets and liabilities of the spouses.

 

In any court case, there are two different types of costs. These costs differ are referred to as the Scales of costs.

  • Costs on the scale between the two parties.

These costs are the lowest of the different scales and are usually the only costs, if any, that are capable of being recovered from the spouse in the divorce case.

  • Costs on the scale of the parties’ costs between the attorney and our client:

When a court grants a Costs order in our client’s favour without specifying the scale thereof, the Costs order will automatically be for Costs on the scale of the parties’ costs between the attorney and our client. These costs include all our client’s costs. We are not entitled to charge our client more than the Costs on the scale as between the attorney and our client.

  • Should our attorney succeeds in obtaining a Costs order against our client’s spouse in the divorce, and succeeds in recovering these costs from the spouse, the spouse is responsible for the Costs on the scale as between the two parties and our client will have to pay the difference between the Costs on the scale as between the attorney and our client and the amount paid by the spouse.

Important: Our client is always liable for the payment of the entire amount of the attorney and own costs until the portion is recovered from the spouse.

  • In order for our attorney to attend to our client’s divorce, we will require our client to pay a deposit. When our client initially consults with our attorney to institute or defend a divorce action on our client’s behalf, we will require our client to pay an initial deposit.

Important: We do not, and may not work on the basis that we assist our client with his/her divorce if no money has been received and/on the basis that we recover our costs from either our client or spouse at the end of the matter.

 

Procedure to be followed during a divorce

Make appointment to give instruction

 

Attorney drafts client’s summons for divorce

 

Summons issued out of appropriate court

 

Summons send to relevant sheriff for service on spouse

 

Spouse has 10 - 21 court days to defend summons

 

 

 

Spouse fails to defend summons - set date on uncontested divorce roll for hearing

 

Hearing date for divorce 1 - 2 months from time of application

 

Date of hearing client brings original marriage certificate and meet advocate at court

 

Advocate consults and prepares client

 

When matter is called, client is directed to the witness box to take the oath

 

Our advocate leads client’s evidence to obtain Final Order of Divorce

 

2 weeks later Court order received

 

Client is furnished with a copy of court order

 

End of procedure

Note: If minor children are involved in the divorce proceedings, a Settlement agreement is drawn up between the spouses, stipulating the parents’ rights and responsibilities towards the minor children. The Settlement agreement is submitted to the Family Advocate for endorsement where after it is filed at court.

 

 

 

Spouse defends summons, has 1 month/ 20 court days, to answer summons

 

Client has 1 month/ 20 Court days to answer Counterclaim

 

Pleadings take 3 weeks/ 15 Court days to close

 

Application for trial date

 

End of procedure

Note: If minor children are involved in the divorce proceedings, a Settlement agreement is drawn up between the spouses, stipulating the parents’ rights and responsibilities towards the minor children. The Settlement agreement is submitted to the Family Advocate for endorsement where after it is filed at court.

 

3.Timeframe to finalise a divorce.

Primarily, the timeframe to finalize a divorce depends on whether the matter is a defended matter or not as well as whether the matter is capable of settlement, or not.

Depending on the court in which the matter is pending, it can take approximately 18 months from the day our client initiated divorce proceedings against the spouse, to the trial date for the hearing of a defended divorce action.

Anytime within this period our client’s matter can be settled, which will result in one to two months for the matter to be finalized on the uncontested divorce roll.

If the spouse fails to defend the divorce action, the timeframe to finalize on the uncontested divorce roll will be one to two months.

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