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
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,