Types of Divorce Proceedings
The type of divorce proceedings depends on whether you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on the terms of divorce.
Types of Divorce Proceedings
A divorce can proceed either on the simplified track or the normal track.
You could file your divorce on the simplified track if you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on both the ground for divorce (i.e. unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, and/or separation) and all ancillary matters (i.e. children issues, maintenance, and the division of matrimonial assets) prior to filing the Writ for Divorce.
This is a quicker, less costly, and less painful process as compared to a divorce on the normal track (i.e. where court intervention is required). A divorce on the simplified track typically takes approximately 1 month for the Interim Judgment of Divorce* to be granted. You will have to wait for 3 months thereafter before you can apply for the Certificate of Final Judgment. In 2020, 6 out of 10 divorcing couples filed for divorce on the simplified track.
When a Judge of the Family Justice Courts grants your divorce, he or she will hand down an Interim Judgment of Divorce which represents the end of the first stage of divorce proceedings.
The Interim Judgment of Divorce does not settle all ancillary matters (i.e. children issues, maintenance, and the division of matrimonial assets). These issues will be dealt at the second stage of divorce proceedings.
In a Simplified Track divorce, the two stages will be dealt with together. After which, the Court will grant you with a Certificate of Final Judgment and this can be extracted three months from the Interim Judgment of Divorce date.
Pause and Reflect
What are the areas of disagreement between me and my spouse?
Would it be possible for my spouse and I to reach an agreement on any or all of those areas before filing for divorce?
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on the ground for divorce and/or the ancillary matters, you would have to file your divorce on the normal track.
A divorce on the normal track typically takes approximately 3 to 4 months for the Interim Judgment of Divorce to be granted, depending on the nature of the dispute and complexity, and another 3 to 8 months after that for all ancillary matters (i.e. children issues, maintenance, and the division of matrimonial assets) to be resolved. The application for the Certificate of Final Judgment is usually made after the conclusion of the ancillary matters. In some cases, divorces on the normal track may even stretch past 18 months.
The long-drawn divorce process is usually extremely costly, and can have a lasting negative impact on children involved.
Sometimes, it may not be possible to reach a full agreement with your spouse on the reason for divorce and all the ancillary matters prior to filing the Writ for Divorce. Nevertheless, you may still reach an agreement on the contested issues later in the Court process. If an agreement is reached on any issue, that issue will be regarded as uncontested, and the normal track divorce process can then be shortened.
Almost 9 out of 10 couples who had filed a divorce managed, in the course of the divorce process, to reach an agreement through private negotiations or court mediation and did not need to go through an extensive court trial.
Going through a divorce will almost certainly be painful. A simplified track divorce may help to avoid dragging out the process and leave you more time to focus on yourself and your children.
If, at any time before the divorce is finalised, you wish to change your mind about going through with the divorce process, you may wish to seek legal advice on withdrawing/discontinuing the divorce proceedings.