Home > Divorce Court > Defending Your Case in the Divorce Court

Defending Your Case in the Divorce Court

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 7 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Grounds For Divorce Living Apart

Getting a divorce today can be as simple as filling in a form and submitting this to your local County Court. If there are no circumstances such as children or substantial financial assets to consider, your divorce is likely to be granted. You won’t even have to appear in court, unless you live in Northern Ireland as all divorce case appear before a judge.

Your divorce petition can, however, be contested by your partner. What this means in practice is that your partner either refuses outright to grant you a divorce, or more likely is that they object to some of the conditions of your divorce. Some of the conditions that are often contested include:

  • Where children will live after the divorce
  • The level of maintenance that will be paid
  • How assets will be disposed of and the proceeds distributed
  • How debts will be dealt with

Before you go to Court

Contested divorces can become bitter and expensive, as often solicitors will be bought in by both parties to fight for the rights of their clients in the divorce settlement. Before you reach this point it can be useful to attempt to mediate the differences between you and your partner before going to court.

If mediation is unsuccessful then your only course of action is to go to court and defend your application for divorce. Now is the time to think clearly about why you have applied for a divorce. Try and write down your reasons. This is a good way of understanding why you want to get divorced, but it can also have a financial benefit as well. Your solicitor will have to less work for you, which will reduce their fees considerably.

Often, a contested divorce will centre on some financial matters. As you are going to court to defend your divorce application you need as much documentary evidence as you can produce. Gather together your bank and mortgage statements and any correspondence that is relevant to your case. If the judge asks for this information you will have it readily to hand that further enhances your case when you are in court.

Your Day in Court

The County Court where you divorce hearing will take place would much rather you came to a settlement outside of court. But if you cannot do this, you have to put your case before a judge. If you do need to go to court to contest a divorce it’s important that you have legal representation. Don’t try and represent yourself, as contested divorces can become complex legal cases that you won’t be qualified to make decisions about. Leave this to the professionals.

Often, a divorce will be contested, as one party doesn’t agree with what the divorce is based on. If you are divorcing your partner because of unreasonable behaviour for instance, they may contest your definition of what this means. Behaviour that is tolerated in one marriage may not be in another. Be prepared to state clearly and with any evidence you have gathered why you want to divorce your spouse. The court often has to make an objective decision in contested divorce cases. The more detailed information you can make available to the judge the better as they can then make an informed decision that will hopefully support your case for divorce.

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My husband also has Asperger's and again terrible communication problems.I didn't know of his condition for the longest time and struggled with basic understanding.I think with counselling and better communication we can make it work.Is there any point in defending the divorce?
Katie - 7-Feb-17 @ 12:09 PM
Willow - Your Question:
My husband has Aspergers, it created terrible communication problems and things came to a head and I left with our daughter. I have never stopped loving my husband and we continued to see each other until October 2015, I was diagnosed with cancer and my parents came to live with me to help look after me and our daughter through treatment. My husband didn't come to see me as he doesn't get on with my parents, when the left 3 months later, he just didn't bother anymore. I left him alone to give him space thinking that it would work itself out, but it hasn't. He has been talking about sorting out the sale of the house that he still lives in and today he called to tell me he has filed for divorce on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. I do not want a divorce and I believe that with counselling we could address the issues that caused so much problems, our daughter is 10 and she is devestated and does not cope well with this situation and when she learns that he has filed for divorce she will be so upset, is there any point in me contesting the divorce? I don't have money for a solicitor and just don't know what to do.

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. In practical terms contesting the divorce may cause more heartache as well as financial cost. On an emotional level, perhaps you best option would be to talk/write to your husband and tell him your feelings in a clear and direct form of communication which (as you will, I'm sure well know)works best in a relationship with an Asperger’s partner. As specified in the article, suggesting mediation or further counselling as a way of trying to avoid your divorce may work. Also, by doing so as you are already separated you have nothing to lose. However, if your husband persists in divorce, then as you have been separated for some time, you would have to decide whether to concede. Taking some independent counselling yourself on how to broach the matter with your husband may also work, especially if your communication problems have been difficult to overcome in the past. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 6-Jan-17 @ 2:03 PM
My husband has Aspergers, it created terrible communication problems and things came to a head and I left with our daughter. I have never stopped loving my husband and we continued to see each other until October 2015, I was diagnosed with cancer and my parents came to live with me to help look after me and our daughter through treatment. My husband didn't come to see me as he doesn't get on with my parents, when the left 3 months later, he just didn't bother anymore. I left him alone to give him space thinking that it would work itself out, but it hasn't. He has been talking about sorting out the sale of the house that he still lives in and today he called to tell me he has filed for divorce on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.I do not want a divorce and I believe that with counselling we could address the issues that caused so much problems, our daughter is 10 and she is devestated and does not cope well with this situation and when she learns that he has filed for divorce she will be so upset, is there any point in me contesting the divorce? I don't have money for a solicitor and just don't know what to do.
Willow - 5-Jan-17 @ 3:52 PM
When a decree nisi is set aside what is the best course of action. I have been told that I as setting aside means it is as if it was never made. I must apply for decree nisi again. I don't understand what different I can do except include all the emails sent by my husband showing controlling behaviour like him seeing my browsing history. Any advice please regarding this issue. I also don't know the fee for decree nisi. Is it 255 pounds.
Nisha - 4-Jan-17 @ 2:43 PM
Lyn - Your Question:
In 2007 I married my Turkish husband we applied for a spouse visa which was at first denied my husband then decided to get a solistor in Turkey to handle is visa which was granted my husband then came to the UK we seemed happy until my husband met some other Turkish friends here in the UK my husband then started very quickly to change is behavior got so bad he had a brilliant job here well paid working for a very well known cheff he finished work at 11 pm but he wouldn't come home until 4 in the morning he applied for is UK passport then he changed for the worst he started hanging around with bad people from is country he told me so much bad things they did I asked him to stop hanging around with them before he got into trouble he refused telling me that there very important in is life I then found out why he was late coming home until early hours it was because he was having an affair with a so called friend I realized this when I was at work he called me my friend said can I say hello he then ended the call as soon as he heard her voice I then realized something wasn't right I have confronted both which both have denied I have on few accations seen my husband and her together with is arm around her shoulders I have received divorce papers saying that I must attend to give evidence and ten pound check my husband didn't even remember my address I now believe and understand that he only married me to enter into the UK and get is UK passport do I have to go to court? A friend found the divorce papers in the dustbin and she brought them to me my husband has since been sacked for rasit remarks to other members of staff

Our Response:
While the UK Government can strip a citizen of their passport or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you would have to contact the Home Office directly to report that you think your marriage was fraudulent and the Home Office would make the decision whether to investigate the matter.
CourtroomAdvice - 14-Dec-16 @ 9:51 AM
in 2007 I married my Turkish husband we applied for a spouse visa which was at first denied my husband then decided to get a solistor in Turkey to handle is visa which was granted my husband then came to the UK we seemed happy until my husband met some other Turkish friends here in the UK my husband then started very quickly to change is behavior got so bad he had a brilliant job here well paid working for a very well known cheff he finished work at 11 pm but he wouldn't come home until 4 in the morning he applied for is UK passport then he changed for the worst he started hanging around with bad people from is country he told me so much bad things they did I asked him to stop hanging around with them before he got into trouble he refused telling me that there very important in is life I then found out why he was late coming home until early hours it was because he was having an affair with a so called friend I realized this when I was at work he called me my friend said can I say hello he then ended the call as soon as he heard her voice I then realized something wasn't right I have confronted both which both have denied I have on few accations seen my husband and her together with is arm around her shoulders I have received divorce papers saying that I must attend to give evidence and ten pound check my husband didn't even remember my address I now believe and understand that he only married me to enter into the UK and get is UK passport do I have to go to court? A friend found the divorce papers in the dustbin and she brought them to me my husband has since been sacked for rasit remarks to other members of staff
Lyn - 13-Dec-16 @ 4:13 AM
My husband and I have separated, he was having an affair, although has filed on the grounds of my unreasonable behaviour. I have written evidence of his sexual relationship. I'm choosing to defend the petition, one question on the answer is do I want the divorce application denied or other, can I ask the judge for a divorce but it be for his adultery, without having to issue my own petition.
Fred - 19-Oct-16 @ 9:01 AM
I had a civil ceremony not a marriage in Cuba in 2006 it was stated that it wasn't a legal marriage but a partnership between 2 people it was never legalised in the UK . I was only willing to go ahead with this for this reason now in 2016 I receive divorce papers ? Which I'm miffed by due to me never getting married the ceremony was more a naming day ceremony than any wedding . I was bullied by my ex into doing anything he wanted and I wasn't of said mind he was a bully and a cheat and put me £60.000 in debt we have a child who he did pay for for a year only via csa now that has stopped as h is self employed and saying he is not working which is a lie.he will do anything not to pay me agNythjng and lies constantly about his earrings so he avoids the tax and vat man how do I stand with regards to this and paying back any debts owed and how do I stand with this "marriage in Cuba he states and isn't actually legal in the UK .totally miffed . I have since moved on having 2 further children and another on the way to another partner he is just so full of jealousy and that I've moved on to a nicer house and just a much happier life without the me tel abuse he cannot control me or my life again it's taken years to get this strong and he tries to use money as a power offer me which no longer works as I told him to stick his money. As the demands he requested to get anything from him was a joke he really didn't like the total cut of I gave as I'm not interested in his Tom foolery. He now hasn't got any attention from me in a year I block his messages and calls he arranges this with my daughter via her mobile I won't have nothing to do with him as he became very aggressive and abusive towards me in front of my daughter and other children .this is what he does to my daughter tells her lies and desrespects me totally . How so I stand with regards to the debts and the fact I never had a legal marriage nor do I want to see him win and not pay for his daughter or his debts? As I've been paying them solely on my own for many years as he just wouldn't ignolodge these and simply refused to pay them. I sold my home as I couldn't afford the mortgage or the debts he left behind what are my options ? And advise please I cannot afford to pay a solicitor to represent me. We have also not been together for many years not that he ever was together with me for any amount of time he just used me for cash and to get his head down when he wasn't getting down with other women . So he has no claim over the house I sold in 2012 but I'm left with t His debts how can I get him to pay for what are jointly in both our names I didn't work due to ill health and got benefits as he never supported my daughter or me ever he was just a con man he never staying with me any longer than a few weeks at a time but used my address for many credit cards and even setting up a business without me knowing he is a nice piece of work and think he's is untouchable he has been working
Madmel - 6-Feb-16 @ 4:33 PM
I'm my wife divorce statement she says that we separated in March this year and that I didn't help with DIY ALSO THAT I NEVER CARED FOR OR FED MY DAUGHTER SO SHE IS DIVORCING MY ON UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOUR FIRSTLY WE WAS STILL LOVING TOGETHER IN MARCH RIGHT UP TILL SEPTEMBER 7th this year we was going to BBQ at friends plus weddings in May plus we went on holiday for 2 weeks in Spain June 16th till 30 June plus the part bout my daughter not being cared for yet I was takin my daughter out for meals cooking at home also the part bout me not doing DIY I work 6 days a week and have done for my years she has been cheating in the marriage with I have proof can I contest the divorce and is my wife perverting the course of justice by making a false divorce statement I can prove that her statement is a lie can I contest it
Bateman - 2-Dec-15 @ 6:43 AM
My husband drip fed me drugs until I was good for nothing,I was really sick due to cocaine so I ask him to stop giving it to me but I was hooked and he liked me that way as I became a hermit and he was free to do as he pleased,I got my wits about me slowly,one day I drove to a lock up while he was in dentist,there was a kilo of cocaine and half a kilo of benzocaine,I was too scared to tell anybody but emailed crimestoppers,he destroyed my life and has moved on to his next victim who has a drug problem,he's now taking me to court for divorce due to my unreasonable behaviour,I can't afford a lawyer,he left me in debt and I'm a full time carer for my son,what do I do,turn up on my own or not bother?please help
Polly - 4-Oct-15 @ 7:20 PM
Unreasonable behaviour is now the most common fact on which to prove the ground for divorce in England and Wales. In an unreasonable behaviour petition, the Petitioner sets out a number ofallegations against the Respondent. These allegations might include references to excessive drinking or financial extravagance, for example; but it is worth bearing in mind that the court does not insist on really severe allegations of unreasonable behaviour in order to grant a divorce. Relatively mild allegations such as devoting too much time to a career,having no common interests or pursuing a separate social life may well suffice. Using mild allegations may also make it easier to agree a petition in advance with your spouse
vafia - 26-Jul-15 @ 10:40 AM
Ayesha, in the UK it is easy to get a divorce. The recent case of Bidaki v Najafabadi reminded me of the futility of contesting divorce proceedings. Whilst the Court of Appeal judgment did not strictly speaking deal with it, the case involved that rare thing nowadays: a contested divorce hearing. I won’t go into the details here, but the result of the hearing was (as it almost always is) that the court found in favour of the petitioner, and pronounced a decree nisi in her favour. So, is there any point in defending a divorce? After all, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to prevent the divorce going through if your spouse is determined that they want the marriage to be dissolved. The respondent to any divorce proceedings has the right to defend. However, if they do so then the procedure will become a lot more complicated, and therefore the costs will increase hugely (if they fail to stop the divorce going through they are also likely to be ordered to pay the petitioner’s costs). Defending divorce proceedings is therefore not a decision that should be taken lightly.
sara - 25-Jul-15 @ 10:43 AM
The lawyer for the defendant requests an adjournment for the defendant due to some surgery the client is having 5 days before an ISC. The Judge grants it once a doctors note is in hand. Claims include not being able to drive because of surgical procedure and being on pain medication. The day before ISC, the defendant is driving to church. The day of the now canceled ISC, the defendant drives to work and works the full day. Is the defendant in any sort of violation here? Or are they within their rights to go and do whatever they wish once the Judge agrees to adjournment?
JeremyJones - 7-Jul-15 @ 7:58 PM
@Ayesha - the comment is very garbled. But it sounds like the petitioner didn't prove enough evidence for the case to proceed and that there was maybe some evidence missing including the 'acknowledge of service form'. Tash.
Tasha - 22-Oct-14 @ 12:43 PM
What do I do the the judge have considered the evidence filed, is not satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to the decree sought, because the judge was not satisfied, in the absence of the acknowledge of service form or other evidence that the amended petition has been served on the respondent What does this mean?
Ayesha - 21-Oct-14 @ 4:02 PM
My ex and I dated for 2 years and we broke up 2 months ago. Things were sweet at first , we clicked in almost every thing,but things turned sour suddenly with no reason, we were both stressed and eventually we broke into arguments and fights, then the next day he left me and we broke up. I loved him and I wanted him to marry me, i had to find a very strong source to get him back, so i made a contacted to Robinsonwhich i got from the internet to help me and he actually helped me to bring my lover back, my lover came back after 3 days, this actually wonderful, i still cant believe it, you make a contacted to this +19715126745
Shania Nicole - 8-Aug-14 @ 4:20 AM
my husband statement r all lies on d summonds i collected in may 2014. we were in contact for he asured me he will let me knw whn our court appearance date is as soon as he finds out for d past2 months.i kept smsn him n called. he sms me in ds week informn me i wl receive a letter inda post regarding d devorce not telling me its d final decree. i only saw on d document he appeared on d 9 june 2014. in his sms he jst staes he got d devorce..what do i do n can i still contest.he done me wrong.
val - 7-Aug-14 @ 11:01 PM
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