How to file for Contested Divorce?
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 a contested divorce (when one party wishes to go for divorce but the other party does not consent) can be filed based upon different grounds mentioned in the Act. The journey of getting a contested divorce begins by consulting an expert divorce lawyer. You will have to explain your entire marital situation in detail to your lawyer so that he can give the most suitable and best advice and guide the client as per his/her best interest. There is a set procedure for contested divorce as well. The procedure has been explained below:
1. Preparing the Petition for Divorce:
In a contested divorce, a single party is required to approach the lawyer as has been stated earlier. The husband/wife seeking divorce would have to explain the facts and the lawyer would be required to prepare the petition based upon these facts and circumstances explained and narrated. The Petition would have to be accompanied by relevant documents supporting the allegations as made in the petition. After it has been finalised, the petition along with affidavits and vakalatnama would be signed by the party contesting, in the presence of a Notary/commissioner.
2. Filing of the Petition:
Once the petition has been prepared and all formalities have been fulfilled, it would be filed before the appropriate family court, depending upon the jurisdiction.
3. Scrutiny of the Petition by Court:
The court would scrutinize the petition on the first date of hearing and also listen to the opening arguments (regarding the allegations and grounds) from the lawyer filing the petition.
4. Appearance of the opposite side party in Court:
Once the court is satisfied that the matter should move ahead and be adjudicated, it would issue a notice to be served upon the other party. After this, a copy of the petition and the notice would be sent to the other party and on the next date of hearing, he/she would have to appear in court along with their lawyer. The opposite party would also have to file a reply to the divorce petition and any other application as the case may be.
5. Direction for Mediation:
Initially, the Court will try to resolve the matter between the parties and may also direct them to appear for Mediation so as to reach an amicable solution. After appearing for mediation with a mediator and in case the mediation is not successful or fruitful, the court would continue with the divorce proceedings.
6. Framing of issues and recording of evidence by Court:
The court would then proceed with the matter and frame issues and record evidence. Both the parties would be required to submit evidence, get cross-examined and produce supporting witnesses. This is the most crucial aspect of the entire proceedings - it decides the fate of the case.
7. Final arguments by counsels of the parties:
Once the lengthy procedure of recording/producing of evidence and cross-examinations is completed, advocates for both the parties would be required to give their final arguments before the Judge. After this, a date would be fixed for the pronouncing of the decision.
8. Final decision by the Court:
The Judge would give its final decision and if it deems fit, would give a decree of divorce. The verdict is based upon the facts and circumstances of each case. If in case the verdict is not accepted by either party, they can file an appeal against the said order, with the help of a lawyer. The limitation to file for appeal is 3 months from the date of the order.
Documents required for contested divorce
Several documents are required for contested divorce. A few are required to prove the ground upon which the divorce has been filed. Some of the essential documents have been listed below:
Address proof of husband
Address proof of wife
Photographs of marriage between the husband and wife
Certificate of marriage
Evidence supporting the ground on which divorce is sought (cruelty, adultery, desertion, lunacy, leprosy, presumption of death, conversion to another religion, etc.)
Professional and Financial proofs