Popular keywords
Note

This page describes the process for a divorce application on a normal track.

Refer to File a divorce application (simplified track) if you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the divorce and all ancillary matters before filing the divorce papers.

About contested and uncontested divorce hearings

Depending on how the party against whom the divorce papers are filed (the defendant) responds, parties will have to attend a contested or uncontested divorce hearing.

Refer to the following to find out what to expect at a contested or an uncontested divorce hearing.

If the defendant does one of the following, the case will proceed to an uncontested divorce hearing after set down:

Members of the public are not allowed to attend the uncontested divorce hearing. Parties and their lawyers (if any) also do not have to attend the hearing.

At the hearing, the court will grant an order for divorce known as an Interim Judgment if it is satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Parties may then extract the Interim Judgment at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

For cases where the defendant only agrees to the divorce and not on all the ancillary matters, the court will schedule a date for an ancillary matters case conference after the Interim Judgment is granted.

For cases where the defendant fails to file their MOA or defence within the stipulated time periods, parties will have to wait for 3 months from the date the Interim Judgment is granted to extract the Certificate of Final Judgment.

Extracting the Certificate of Final Judgment finalises and completes the divorce proceedings.

Note

You will need to apply for leave (permission) of court to extract the Certificate of Final Judgment if 1 year has passed from the date of the Interim Judgment.

If the defendant does not agree to the divorce and all ancillary matters, the case will proceed to a contested divorce hearing after set down.

Depending on the nature of the case, the court may notify parties (or their lawyers, if any) to attend a court session known as a case conference before a date for the contested divorce hearing is scheduled.

Only those directly involved in the matter can attend a case conference. Members of the public are not allowed to attend. You do not have to attend the case conference yourself if you have a lawyer. Similarly, if the other party has a lawyer, their lawyer will attend the case conference.

Note
Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

At the case conference, the court will give directions on how to best prepare both parties for the contested divorce hearing. This may include directions for both parties to file the following:

  • Their Affidavit of Evidence-in-Chief (AEIC).
  • Their witnesses' AEIC (if applicable).

In some cases, parties may have to attend multiple case conferences.

Note

If you are not sure what to say, or need help preparing your AEIC, you should seek independent legal advice.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. Find out where to get help.

Bringing witnesses to court

Parties must notify all their witnesses of the date and venue of the hearing. If a witness does not attend court, their AEICs may be rejected by the court.

If a witness is unwilling to attend court, parties may apply for an order called a subpoena via eLitigation requiring them to attend court on the specified date and time.

Refer to Arrange for interpretation services if a witness is not comfortable communicating in English.

Arriving for a hearing

If you are representing yourself, on the day of your hearing, you should:

  • Arrive early and find your way to the venue.
  • Confirm your case is heard in the venue you are about to enter. Inform the court officer (if any) before entering.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.

Attendance is compulsory

Parties (and their lawyers, if any) will have to attend the hearing. If a party is absent without a valid reason, the court may proceed with the case in their absence.

What to expect

Depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the case, the whole process may require 1 day to several days.

Parties are expected to take the stand and present evidence at the hearing. The court will then grant an order for divorce known as an Interim Judgment if it is satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

Parties may then extract the Interim Judgment at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau. This is the end of the first stage of the contested divorce process.

The Interim Judgment does not deal with issues about the children, property or maintenance. The court will schedule a date for the parties to attend an ancillary matters case conference to prepare them for an ancillary matters hearing. These issues will be heard during the hearing.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Refer to:
Refer to Paragraph 18 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions for documents for use in trials of contested matrimonial proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter.
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

Share this page:
Facebook
Twitter
Email
Print