Procedure

  • A petition for divorce may NOT be filed within the first 2 years of marriage, unless leave of Court is obtained in cases of exceptional circumstances or hardship to the petitioner.
  • Types of petition: (1) Joint petition, where the parties, as joint petitioners, consent to the grounds of divorce and terms of separation; or (2) Petition for Divorce, where the divorce is contested, with one spouse as the petitioner and the other, the respondent.
  • A divorce petition may only be presented after the matrimonial difficulty has been referred to a conciliatory body such as a marriage tribunal, and the conciliatory body has certified, after 6 months, that it has failed to reconcile the parties. This requirement does not apply to cases of divorce on the grounds of conversion to Islam or to joint petitions for divorce and further exceptions are made where the respondent is in prison, suffers from an incurable mental disease, or whose whereabouts are unknown.
  • At the hearing of your divorce petition, a Decree Nisi will be granted by a judge if (s)he is satisfied that you have the legal right to a divorce. The Decree Nisi will be made absolute after a period of 3 months, after which the parties may remarry if they so wish.
  • You need to seek advice as to your options at this stage. You may wish to consider alternative dispute resolution such as Divorce Mediation, which is a quicker and more economical way forward, and may be more appropriate for you and your spouse. (Please see the article "Divorce Mediation" by our Family Dispute Resolution unit)
This article is for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified lawyer, provided specifically with reference to all the facts of a particular situation and the law of your jurisdiction.
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