The above stated question is one most attorneys have to
answer before a client can give instructions to institute divorce proceedings. The
answer to this question is quite simple; depending on whether the divorce is
contested or not, each divorce proceeding is dealt with based on its own merits
and has no specific time frame.
Firstly, the difference between an opposed/contested and
unopposed/non-contested divorce has to be explained. The former is a divorce in
which the Defendant wishes to defend certain prayers contained in the
particulars of claim attached to the Summons. This procedure usually takes
months, or in most cases even years of court litigation as parties do not agree
on certain terms contained in the initial divorce summons, for instance spousal
maintenance, child custody, certain movable/immovable property, etc. This is a
costly and more time consuming process, compared to a non-contested/unopposed
divorce. In contrast, an unopposed/non-contested divorce is more cost-effective
and time efficient. This procedure entails the Defendant not defending the
divorce on any basis, or where a default judgement was granted by the court
based on the Defendant not responding within 10 days after receipt of the
Summons. An unopposed/non-contested divorce may also be in a form of a Deed of
Settlement signed by both parties. A deed of settlement is a document which
contains all the factors upon which the parties agree upon and settling the
matter as is. This document is then taken to court on the set down date and is made
an order of the court by the Presiding officer.
in light of the above mentioned, there is no specific time frame when it comes to
the process of a divorce being finalised.