1) Pleading:

Summons

This initiates proceedings and in a divorce must be served personally on the Defendant.

Particulars of claim

  • Sets out the particulars 
  • Must contain reasons that the marriage has broken down so on and so forth.
  • Must set out what relief is being sought.
  • Annexure A must be attached where there are minor children

Notice of intention to defend

– Must be filed within 10days of the summons being served

  • The means that the divorce will be a contested/opposed divorce.

Plea

  • Must file within 20days of filing the notice of intention to defend
  • The Defendant must admit/deny/confess or avoid the material facts that the Plaintiff has set out  as in the Particulars of Claim.
  • Must state the ground of defence including any exception that he or she may have to the summons.

Failure to deliver a plea

  • Where the Defendant fails to serve a Plea, the Plaintiff may serve a notice of bar. 
  • The defendant then has 5 days with which to supply the Plea otherwise they are barred from doing so.
  • If the Defendant does not deliver a plea then the case may be set own further notice and judgement may be given against the Defendant in his or her absence.

Counter Claim

-Defendant may deliver a counter claim setting out any claim that he or she may have.

Plea to Counterclaim

  • If the Plaintiff wants to defend the counterclaim then he or she must deliver a plea to the counterclaim within 10days of delivery of the counterclaims.

2)  Application for trial date:

Once pleading have closed, the Plaintiff makes an application for the Trial Date. If the Plaintiff does not apply for a trial date within a specific amount of time, the Defendant may do so.

A Divorce in High Court- +- 3years

A divorce in Regional Court is shorter as there is not much of a trial backlog.

3)  Discovery of documents:

During close of pleading and the approaching trial date each party demands documentation and other material from the other party which they intend to use at trial.

Each and every document which will be used at trial needs to be discovered.

4) Pre-Trial

Informal conference in chambers to consider settlement of disputes and see which facts are in dispute at trial.

5) Trial

6) Judgment

7) Cost