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Contested Divorce Attorneys

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Contested Divorce Attorneys

A contested or opposed divorce is an acrimonious divorce where the Spouses cannot agree on one or more aspects of the divorce. 

It does not matter whether or not the Spouses are represented by a Divorce Attorney; even if the Spouses agree on everything except one aspect, the divorce will be a contested divorce. So, even if the Parties agree on the division of the assets, on where the Minor Children will live after the divorce but they cannot agree whether the one spouse must pay spousal maintenance to the other, the divorce will be contested. 

A typical contested divorce can take from a few months to a few years to be finalised as the Court must adjudicate the issues in dispute. The issues in dispute can be anything and may include any of the following issues:- 

  • Parental Rights and Responsibilities Issues such as who will be the primary caregiver of the Minor Children after the divorce, and Child Maintenance, and also contact for the non-primary caregiver; 
  • Division in terms of the Ante-Nuptial Agreement and /or of the joint estate;
  • Who will pay for what debt incurred during the marriage;
  • Spousal maintenance – if it is payable or not, and if so in what amount;
  • Etcetera.  

Whilst a Divorce Attorney / Divorce Lawyer normally charges a nominal or agreed fee for an Uncontested Divorce, a contested divorce is normally billed at an hourly rate. This is because an Attorney cannot easily give a cost estimation due to many variables such as an Interim Application that may have to be brought and the issues in dispute. 

Interim Applications may include Rule 43 Applications (High Court) or Section 58 Applications (Regional Courts), Applications to Compel, Domestic Violence Applications and many more types of Applications. 

With an opposed divorce, various experts have to be briefed by the Attorneys.  These experts may include Forensic Auditors, Actuaries, Industrial Psychologists, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists and others. In the event that the Parties cannot afford these experts it may be more difficult to present a Party’s case to the Courts. 

Preparation of a divorce trial involves various procedures and includes the following:

  • Preparation
  • Filing of Pleadings
  • Settlement
  • Discovery
  • Trial 

The Spouse that is best prepared normally has the best results in an Action for divorce. We normally ask our Clients to supply at least the following information to assist us with our preparation:-

  • A timeline that details the Spouses’ lives together. We require a written narrative of as much detail as possible about the Spouses’ lives together, including the things they would never tell anyone else. 
  • A complete list of all family assets and liabilities (spreadsheet) and details pertaining to both of the Spouses’ monthly spending habits, and monthly income. 
  • Marriage Certificate, the Unabridged Birth Certificates of the Minor Children, Ante-Nuptial Contract (if applicable).        
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