Whilst most people understand the concept of divorce, many are not aware of the legal procedures. A divorce affects the legal status of a person and can therefore only be obtained through a High Court of South Africa or a specifically formulated Regional Magistrates Court.

Divorce Law in South Africa has recently undergone radical changes in the fields of childcare, access to children, primary residence and custody. At present, both parents have equal rights to their children and to decisions made relating to their children’s care, after the divorce.

More often than not, when a consensus cannot be reached, the intervention of the Family Advocate is necessary to determine the most suitable common ground. Once it is determined that the marital relationship has irretrievably broken down, a divorce summons is issued by either party.

We have, 20 years experience in divorce actions, both opposed and unopposed. Unopposed divorces (where parties reach an early settlement) are by far more cost -effective for the parties concerned. Through experience, the best and most-lasting settlements are those where neither party walks away completely satisfied. Unopposed divorces can be completed within 2 to 6 months. Opposed Divorces (where parties dispute property, children, and/or maintenance) are expensive and lengthy – usually taking 2 to 3 years to finalise. During the period of time preceding the divorce trial, the interim primary residence and maintenance of the children needs to be determined, by an application to court. Draft settlement agreements are exchanged between the parties until a final draft is made an order of court. The cost of a divorce is very often directly related to the refusal of parties to compromise and reach a settlement. There are situations however where one party is obstructive. Here we would approach the court to order that party to contribute to the cost of the divorce in proportion to their level of obstruction.

Our philosophy is whenever possible to take into account our client’s personal and financial situations concerning the payment of fees. This, in line with our approach of being as accommodating as possible, wherever possible.