Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce In Zimbabwe

Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce In Zimbabwe

Divorce proceedings whether contested or uncontested are initiated by way of a Summons (to which the Plaintiff’s declaration is attached) which should be served personally on the Defendant. In the case where the Defendant resides outside the country, a separate application will have to made to court for service outside Zimbabwe (application for edictal citation). Where the whereabouts of the Defendant are unknown and the Defendant cannot be served personally an application has to be made to court for leave to serve in another form for example through publication in a daily and widely circulating publication.

The Defendant may enter an appearance to defend and plead to the declaration in which case it becomes a contested divorce. The normal procedures will then follow including the parties having to attend in person before a judge in chambers for a pre-trial conference and giving evidence in court at the trial. Note that at any point a contested divorce can become uncontested if the parties agree to all the issues.

If both parties agree that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there are no other ancillary issues in dispute such as custody of minors or the distribution of property, the matter will proceed as an uncontested divorce. In this case once the Summons is served, the parties will sign the Consent Paper, the Affidavit of Evidence (for the Plaintiff) and Affidavit of Waiver (for the Defendant). There will be no need for either of the parties to appear in court (if legally represented). Where the documents referred to herein are signed outside the country they should be signed before a Notary Public.

Evidently, an contested divorce will take long to finalise. This means it will also be costly to the litigants. A trial is mentally taxing and emotionally draining and where it can be avoided it is always best to choose the route of an uncontested divorce. This does not mean one has to abandon their rights for the sake of an uncontested divorce. It is always advisable to consult a lawyer so that one can make an objective decision on whether or not to contest. This may also involve delicate negotiations between the parties and where the settlement is fair and in the best interests of the minor children (if any) there is no need to have a costly and lengthy trial.

An uncontested divorce is less time consuming and less costly. This does not mean the divorce will be granted overnight. This is particularly so where the parties are outside the country and have to sign the necessary documents before a notary public.

The contents of this article are for general information purposes only do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.

Copyright © Marume & Furidzo Legal Practitioners 2018

15 thoughts on “Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce In Zimbabwe”

  1. There is an error in your information. Where you meant to say a contested divorce will take long to finalise you said an uncontested divorce.

  2. Lets say the other party still want to contest and the other party doesnt want to contest what will happen.Also how long does it take for the divorce to be finalized.

    1. Once the other party wish to contest, you’ll be obliged to comply with the procedures. The law will be leading hence one cannot be prejudiced by the other party’s reluctance to respond.

  3. I want to cancel my marriage by I last saw my partner 20 years ago. She is married and has a family where she is. Same with me.

  4. Good evening
    I write this email in regards to divorce proceedings. I have been legally married to my partner for eight years. However circumstances that came along during the relationship has led us to seperation.
    I do not afford so much money for the process at the same time I do not want to be tied up to this person for a life time.kindly advise on the way forward.

  5. Melvyne Milikafu

    Hello.I would like to enquire on the proceedings of getting a divorce.What exactly is the paperwork needed and how much is the whole process.May you please also help me understand on the proceedings of a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce.Thank you.

    my wife and i have saperated 14years ago . last year i engaged a lawyer in trying to dissolve the marriage but my challenge im nowhere finalizing the case the defandand is not responding i have sent every other document through the sherrif but she is not responding. now on the judge`s notes he want affidavit of evidence my lawyer is not helping out what must i do

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