Opposed Divorce Process

Below is a step-by-step guide on the opposed divorce* proceedings. An opposed divorce* is where the parties do not agree on the consequences of the dissolution of their marriage and they ask the Court to determine it for them. An opposed divorce is extremely costly and parties are always advised to settle the matter before it reaches the trial date to avoid hefty legal fees.
See our Simple Guide: The Opposed Divorce Process.


Step 1: Consultation
Step 2: Summons
Step 3: Notice of Intention to Defend
Step 4: Plea and Counter Claim
Step 5: Plea to Counter Claim
Step 6: Pleadings Close
Step 7: Discovery
Step 8: Pre-trial Meeting
Step 9: Trial

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STEP 1: Consultation

Either party attends a consultation to discuss the consequences of their marital regime as well as the contents of their settlement agreement including any claims for child maintenance, spousal maintenance, rehabilitative maintenance, contact with their children or an accrual claim.

If you are the party to whom the Summons has been delivered to, then you present this to your Attorney for advice on your response.

*If you have been served a divorce summons it is extremely important to consult with an Attorney as failure to respond in the correct manner will result in the matter being placed on the Unopposed roll and this could have severe consequences for your future.

STEP 2: Plaintiff: Summons Issued

(if it has been served on you then proceed to step 3)

The Summons clearly states the reason for the divorce proceedings and all the matrimonial consequences must be extensively dealt with in the prayers.

This includes a:

• Particulars of Claim; and
• Parenting Plan (if there are minor children).

STEP 3: Notice of Intention to Defend

(within 10 business days after receipt of Summons) the DEFENDANT: serves an Intention to Defend.

This is:

  • Served on the Plaintiff; and
  • Filed at court.

This notice states to the Court that you wish to defend the action that the Plaintiff has brought against you as you do not agree wholly with the contents of the Plaintiff’s summons.

STEP 4: Plea and Counter Claim:



  • Deals with paragraphs of the Summons;
  • States whether the Defendant agrees or disagrees with the Summons; and/or
  • Consents to the prayers and/or dismisses them and ask for claim in reconvention (counter claim)

Counter Claim:

Deals with what the Defendant would like noted to the court (with relevance) and in the settlement agreement including:

– Accrual claims;
– Any claims with regard to minor children; and/or
– Any claim for spousal or rehabilitative maintenance.

Step 4.1:

(if the Defendant doesn’t serve their Plea and Counter Claim) the PLAINTIFF serves NOTICE OF BAR

This gives the Defendant an extra 5 days to serve their plea and counterclaim.

If the Defendant serves it then an application is done to remove the bar and proceed with Step 5.

If they do not serve it, then you place the matter on the Unopposed Roll and proceed with the divorce on an Unopposed basis.

STEP 5: Plea to the Counter Claim

(Whin 15 business days of serving counter claim the PLAINTIFF serves a Plea to Counter Claim.)


  • Deals with the paragraphs of the Counter Claim;
  • States whether the Plaintiff agrees or disagrees with the Counter Claim; and/or
  • Consents to the prayers and/or dismisses them.

STEP 6: Pleading Closes

(10 business days after plaintiffs plea to the counter claim)


STEP 7: Discovery Notes

This is to ensure that before trial both parties are made aware of all the documentary evidence that is available. This means that the issues are narrowed and the debate of points which are indisputable is eliminated.

STEP 8: Pretrial Meeting

(With the minutes)

This is where you discuss all the issues with the judge and make sure the trial itself does not deal with unnecessary facts.

STEP 9: Trial

If you or someone you know is going through an opposed divorce and they need legal assistance, we can help.