Respond to divorce papers

On this page:

If your ex-partner asks the Family Court for a divorce without you, you’ll be given the court documents in person.

You can decide to let the divorce go through, or you can ask the court not to grant the divorce.

Time frames for responding

You have a set time to ask the Family Court not to grant the divorce. This is called defending the application.

The set time is usually:

  • 21 days if the documents are served in New Zealand
  • 30 days if they are served in Australia
  • 50 days for anywhere else in the world.

You may want to get legal advice to help you. You may be able to get:

Back to top

Option 1: Let the divorce go through

If you don’t respond once you’ve been served, the court can make a Dissolution Order and approve the divorce without hearing what you think.

The court will send you copies of the Dissolution Order.

Back to top

Option 2: Ask the court not to approve the divorce

You can ask the court not to approve the divorce.

  1. Fill in these 2 forms:
    Notice of defence - G12 [PDF, 58 KB]
    General affidavit [PDF, 38 KB]
  2. Include a New Zealand address on the forms if you want to be sent other documents relating to the case.
  3. File your documents.
    Find out more about how to file documents

Back to top

What happens after you file your application

Serving your documents

You or your lawyer will need to make sure your ex-partner gets a copy of your documents by sending the documents to your ex-partner or their lawyer. The address you need to send them to will be on the information sheet you received when you were served.

Find out more about serving documents

Defended hearing

If you ask the court not to make the Dissolution Order, then there will be a defended hearing before a Family Court judge. The judge will hear from both of you and decide if there are grounds to make the Dissolution Order.

Back to top

This page was last updated: