The Divorce Process

Defence and Counterclaim

To contest a divorce you will need to complete a Defence form. You will also need to complete an Affidavit of Means form. If there are dependent children you will also need to complete an Affidavit of Welfare form. The information that you need to include is set out in Circuit Court rules. You might want to get legal advice to better understand what's involved.

Defence (Form 6A)

In completing your defence, you may want to respond to or dispute any of the claims in the civil bill. You may also wish to add additional requests for orders you want the court to make and the section(s) of the Divorce Act that allows the court to make these orders. This is called a counterclaim.

Affidavit of Means (Form 37A)

This is a statement setting out your own financial circumstances. Your spouse will set out a separate financial statement. You must sign the affidavit in person in front of a solicitor (but not your own solicitor) or Commissioner for Oaths and swear that the information you are giving is correct.

The information you will need to include in this affidavit include:

  • Your assets, such as property, cars, the family home, shares and land.
  • Your income, including your wage or salary, rental income and share dividends.
  • Your expenditure on accommodation, education, groceries, utilities, healthcare, dental, motor, public transport, entertainment and insurance.
  • Debts and/or liabilities, such as loan repayments and mortgages.
  • Pension entitlements.

This is not an exhaustive list, so you should always refer to the Circuit Court rules.

Swearing your affidavit

You must take the completed affidavit, any exhibits (supporting documents) and proof of your identity to a Commissioner for Oaths or a solicitor (but not your own solicitor). There may be a charge for this service so make sure to ask in advance.

A Commissioner for Oaths or solicitor will ask you to take an oath or affirmation before signing the affidavit. You cannot make any changes to the affidavit once it has been sworn and signed.

Affidavit of Welfare (Form 37B)

An Affidavit of Welfare is a sworn statement about the dependent children of the marriage. If there are no dependent children, you can skip this step.

A child is considered dependent if they:

  • are under the age of 18
  • are over the age of 18 but under the age of 23 and in full-time education
  • have a mental or physical disability where it is not possible for them to fully maintain themselves

The type of information you will need to include is as follows:

  • The names and dates of birth of any children.
  • Details about where the children are living and a description of the accommodation.
  • Details about the children’s education.
  • Details about the children's childcare arrangements.
  • Details about any maintenance payments being made.
  • Details of contact with the children.
  • Details of the health of the children and the parents.