What happens at your first Court session for your Divorce?
If your spouse and yourself have agreed on a divorce, and if your spouse has no disagreement over what you’ve said in your Divorce papers summarising the key background facts of the case and the reasons for divorce (which are contained in your Statement of Claim and Statement of Particulars), you must inform the Court that you’re ready for your case to be heard by ‘setting down’ your case for hearing on an uncontested basis. You will do this by filing a document called a Request for Setting Down Action for Trial.
If you don’t set down the case within 6 weeks of filing your Writ for Divorce, the Court arrange for you and your spouse to attend an administrative Court hearing called a Status Conference to check on the status of your case.
A Status Conference is conducted by a Judge in chambers – meaning that the hearing is closed to the public, and only those directly involved in the matter can attend. You or your spouse don’t have to attend a Status Conference yourself if you have a lawyer to represent you.
At the Status Conference, the Judge will check if all the required documents have been filed in Court. If your spouse is contesting the divorce, the Judge may refer the case for counselling with a professional Court counsellor, or for a resolution conference at the Family Relations Chambers.
If you’re a Defendant, and have been served with a set of divorce papers that you don’t understand, you must remember that if you choose to ignore the divorce papers, your spouse (who is the Plaintiff in the case) is allowed to ask the Court for a divorce hearing date by filing the Request for Setting Down Action for Trial.
The Court may proceed to schedule a divorce hearing date, hear the case, and grant the divorce in your absence.
So, there you’ve it, some basic information on: What happens at your first Court session for your Divorce