How long does it take for a contested divorce to get concluded ?


How long does it take for the divorce procedure to complete in a "contested" divorce?

Answers (1)


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Procedure For A Contested Divorce:

The procedure for obtaining a Contested Divorce would start by consulting a Divorce Lawyer/attorney of your choice. The person would need to explain the whole marital situation in detail so that the Divorce Lawyer is able to advise correctly as per law and in the person’s best interest. This would include all the incidences from the beginning itself, including the marriage, the wedding invitation cards, the photographs, kids, situation at home etc.

Next, the Divorce Lawyer would be required to prepare a Divorce Petition (Marriage Petition) as per the facts and circumstances narrated and explained by the person seeking the Contested Divorce. The Petition has to be accompanied with all the relevant documents pertaining to the proof of marriage and also the documents supporting the allegations made in the Divorce Petition. The evidence would include the marriage invitation, the photographs, the Marriage certificate etc.

Once the Petition has been finalized, the person would be required to sign the Petition, supporting Affidavits, Vakalatnama, etc. in the presence of an authorized Oath Commissioner/Notary. This could be found in the court premises.

After the completion of all the formalities, the Divorce Petition would be filed before the appropriate Court by the Divorce Lawyer, as per the applicable territorial jurisdiction. A Petition number will be received by you and it would be helpful in tracking the date of the case before the appropriate court.

Normally, a Contested Divorce Petition is listed for hearing within 7-10 days from the date of filing, however, it may take few or more days to get listed subject to the workload of the Court which is to hear the Divorce case.

Now, before the actual Divorce proceedings can begin, the Divorce Petition itself needs to be admitted by the Court. On the first date of hearing, the Judge would carefully study the Petition and hear opening arguments from the Divorce Lawyer regarding the allegations made in the Petition and the grounds on which the Contested Divorce is being sought.

Once the Court is satisfied that, on a preliminary level, the case seems to be carrying some weight and needs to be properly adjudicated, the Court would issue a formal notice of the case to be served upon the opposite side. Subsequently, a copy of the notice along with the Petition would be sent to the opposite side.

On the next date of hearing, the opposite side is supposed to appear in person along with its Lawyer and also file its reply to the Divorce Petition. The other side is also required to a file a reply to any Application (usually for maintenance or custody of child) which may have be filed along with the Divorce Petition.

At the initial stage of the case, the Court will try to resolve the dispute between the parties, and will also direct both the parties to appear before a Mediator for an amicable solution to their marital issues. In the case of Mediation, both the parties should peacefully resolve their disputes and agree upon all the terms and conditions laid down by each other.

In case the mediation sessions are not fruitful and the issue between the parties are not resolved, the Court would continue further with the Divorce proceedings.

If an Application for maintenance is filed (usually) by the wife, the Court would first decide the Application so as to ensure financial security of the wife during the pendency of the Divorce Petition.

Subsequently, the Court would proceed towards framing of issues and recording of evidence. Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination of the Petitioner and its supporting witnesses would be recorded first, followed by Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination of the Respondent and its supporting witnesses.

This is the most crucial stage of the entire case. It has the potential to make or break a case. Therefore, the stage of recording of evidence usually takes a lot of time and a lot of hearings to conclude.

After the evidence of both the parties has been recorded, the Divorce Lawyers for both the parties would be required to address their final closing arguments before the Court. Subsequent to which, the Court would fix a date on which it shall pronounce its decision.

In case, the decision passed by the Court is not acceptable to either of the parties, that party can file an Appeal against that Order within a period of 3 months from the date of the order.

This was only a brief outline of the entire process involved in a Contested Divorce case. There is obviously a lot of work which goes into the entire case, and the legal complexities varies from one case to another, which is beyond the scope of this article.

It would take, approximately around 6 months minimum and/or in an extreme case 1.5 years maximum for finalizing the divorce. This will be obtained after all efforts have been made to show that, re-conciliation has been tried but not yielded any positive results.


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