If the respondent does not file an Answer within the proper time, the Petitioner can request that the divorce proceed on an uncontested basis. To do this, a form called a Motion for Uncontested Divorce must be filed and an additional filing fee paid to the court. There are other documents which must be filed with the Motion, including the:
- Affidavit supporting an uncontested divorce
- Divorce Order
- Corollary Relief Order
- Financial documents, depending on the situation
Filing these documents in Halifax, Sydney, or Port Hawkesbury? Click here for your forms.
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Both the long-form marriage certificate and Affidavit of Service showing that the respondent was served with notice of the divorce must be filed with the court by this time.
If the respondent files an Answer, the divorce process will stop until one of the parties files a request with the court to move the divorce forward. This is called filing a ‘Request for Date Assignment Conference.’ A Date Assignment Conference (DAC) is a required step before a matter proceeds to a divorce trial. The Date Assignment Conference is usually scheduled for 30 minutes, and takes place in a courtroom between a judge, you and your spouse, and your lawyers, if either of you has a lawyer. The DAC is like a business meeting to prepare the case to move forward to a trial, if you and your spouse still haven’t come to an agreement on your outstanding issues. Remember, a divorce can settle at any time if you can reach an agreement.
The DAC is scheduled only after all required documents are filed. The DAC is generally not to decide on any of the outstanding issues. Instead, it has three main purposes:
- to determine if either spouse will call witnesses at the trial
- to determine how much time will be required for the trial
- for the judge to make sure that the required disclosure (court forms) has been filed, and if not, to direct what other disclosure needs to be filed and by what date
- both spouses will have to file documents relating to the issues that you haven’t reached agreement on - these documents may differ depending on the issue(s), and should be filed before the Date Assignment Conference
- for example, if you and your spouse disagree about parenting arrangements, you will both have to file Parenting Statements.
You can make the request to go to a settlement conference in the document ‘Request for Date Assignment Conference’ Form FD10 , or during the DAC itself. Settlement conferences will be discussed in a later section.
If your divorce is contested, and is going through the Date Assignment Conference process and on to a trial, it is very important for you to get legal advice to find out about your rights and obligations. Court staff can tell you about the court process and forms, and how to find a lawyer, but they can never give you advice about what you should say in your forms or what you should ask for or agree to as part of your divorce.