Divorce and Family Law

Divorce and Family Law

Divorce and Family Law

Contested or Opposed Divorce

In a contested divorce, the rights and obligations of the spouses going through a divorce are decided by a judge.


This includes:

  • Child Support
  • Division of Assets
  • Child Custody


… and more things which the couple themselves could not decide.

Contested Divorce: When Is It A Right Choice?

While generally more time consuming than an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce can also be an extremely helpful choice. Here are some situations which make contested divorce a suitable decision.


  • When the divorce is one-sided: Suppose your partner is defensive and cannot wrap his/her mind around the fact that you two are getting a divorce - or outright refuses to have a divorce, then contested divorce is the only path moving forward.


  • If your rights are being challenged or ignored: If your partner is not reasonable and making demands that’s not in your best interest, or your spouse is hiding assets then it makes no sense to try and have an unopposed divorce. This will give you a chance to establish what you are entitled to in terms of your marital regime.


  • The relationship has turned toxic: Arguments and fighting aside - if your partner has become spiteful and is trying to harm you purposely, cease contact immediately and hire an attorney who will help you get a divorce safely.

Contested Divorce: The Alternatives

To help you make an informed decision, here’s a brief overview of other choices you can make. But be aware that all these choices primarily require you and your spouse to be at mutual agreement on all aspects of the divorce. Failing to do so, none of these choices will be successful and choosing a contested divorce will be the way to go.


Here are the two main alternatives to contested divorce:


Uncontested Divorce : The appropriate thing to do would be to set all your differences aside, think logically and mutually decide upon your most pressing matters i.e your children and property - by yourselves  and not spend too much time thinking about things that aren’t worth the time, money or effort. This will allow the divorce to move forward much more quickly.


Mediation: Your Divorce Lawyers will try to get a 3rd party Mediator involved with your permission. They will help you settle your differences and try to suggest an outcome that benefits you both. In many cases, this is successful and both partners are able to come to agreement before trial, again, making the divorce move forward much more quickly.


However, if all these methods fail and you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, your only choice is to hire a Divorce Attorney to proceed with the Contested Divorce.

Contested Divorce: The Procedure


Here is a short guide taking you through the steps of how the ‘Contested’ divorce works:


  • Hire a Divorce Attorney: This is the first step take. Once you hire your Divorce Lawyer, he/she will ask you a great many questions you should always answer honestly. Not doing so could harm your chances of winning a case. Your Lawyer will also help filing - and serving the divorce papers on your spouse.


  • Divorce Summons Served To Your Spouse: Once the divorce papers have been properly filled, it will be served to your spouse (normally) in person. These formal documents are called pleadings. Before the trial, both parties i.e you and your spouse will exchange pleas, counterclaim, pleas to counterclaim and more.


  • Discovery Phase: Since this is a contested divorce, this process is incredibly important for both you and your Attorney to carefully execute. In it, your Attorney will ask for their information such as properties, sources of income, salaries, credit card statements and more; and your spouse’s attorney will do the same. Moreover, your spouses can also try to hide their assets or other information, which is the job of your Attorney to be aware of.


  • Settlement: Parties may still attempt settlement whilst the litigation continues. If settlement takes place then the divorce will become unopposed. When all information (both yours and your spouse) have been collected, both of you will sit together in the presence of your attorneys and attempt to reach settlement.


  • Trial: At trial, you and your spouse will present witnesses which will be cross-examined by yours Divorce Attorney who will present your case. Both parties will argue their cases after which the judge will finalise the decision as to what will be awarded to whom.


This is a short, quick overview as to how a contested divorce works. However, this is still a general overview and the divorce process can bring forth unforeseen circumstances and complications. Therefore, your best bet would be to hire your very own lawyer from Martin Vermaak Attorneys as we are Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorneys and can start preparing for your divorce almost immediately.


Take the next step to resolving your issue by calling us on 011 875-4311 or by booking a Consultation and we will be in touch.