Legal Q&A: Defending Divorce Proceedings

Q. I would like to defend my divorce proceedings, what should I do? 

A. Contested divorce proceedings are quite rare as the solicitors for both parties will endeavour to reach an agreed Petition in order to keep proceedings as amicable as possible. However, in the circumstances where the Respondent would like to defend the divorce, there is a procedure to follow. This procedure involves The Petitioner to file the Petition at Court.  The Respondent is then required to file an Acknowledgement of Service within 7 days of receiving it to confirm whether they intend to or do not intend to defend the divorce.

Simply returning the Acknowledgement of Service confirming that you do wish to defend proceedings is not enough to defend the divorce. The Respondent will also need to file an Answer within 21 days from returning the Acknowledgement of Service.  This is a formal document detailing reasons as to why the divorce is being defended and it will need to be filed together with the appropriate Court fee.  Defending the divorce proceedings means to disagree either with the divorce going ahead or as to the terms upon which the divorce will proceed.  Proceedings do not become defended if there is a dispute as to which party should bear the costs. It should also be noted that by defending the divorce, it will increase legal fees considerably.

To speak to Chris Brown about any aspect of Family Law please call 01733 295 627 or email chris.brown@hegarty.co.uk