Divorce in South Africa – Some Frequently Asked Questions
What is Divorce?
A Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage by means of an Order of Court. In other words, a divorce brings a marriage relationship to an end.
Who is allowed to grant a divorce?
Since a divorce entails the changing of a person's status, a divorce may only be granted by a Court of Law. At the date of writing hereof the Courts who are empowered to grant divorces are the High Court and the Regional Court.
What do I need to prove to be granted a decree of divorce?
Broadly speaking, in South African Law, there are two grounds upon which a Decree of Divorce may be granted. These are:
- The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (Section 4 of the Divorce Act);
- The mental illness or the continuous unconsciousness of a party to the marriage (Section 5 of the Divorce Act);
How do I proceed with a Divorce?
There are two ways to proceed with a divorce, namely:
How much does a divorce cost?
The cost of a divorce depends on various factors. Most particularly, the attorney involved and their pricing structure. A contested divorce may prove very costly as the litigation process is very time-consuming. An uncontested divorce, however, is much more predictable and one might expect to pay in the region of R8000.00 - R10 000.00 for the whole process.
Should I change my will if I am considering divorce?
Definitely. A divorce is a life-changing process, which may have immense financial consequences to all involved. It is always a good idea to ask your attorney about your will during the first consultation.
What are the issues that will be dealt with in divorce?
The issues generally dealt with are:
- Assets and Liabilities;
- Maintenance for the Parties;
- Parental Rights and Responsibilities, including:
How long does a divorce take?
It is difficult to predict how long a divorce will take. A contested divorce may take years to finalise. An uncontested divorce usually takes about 2-4 months from start to finish.