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:

  1. The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (Section 4 of the Divorce Act);
  2. 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:

  1. Uncontested Divorce;
  2. Contested Divorce;


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:

  1. Assets and Liabilities;
  2. Maintenance for the Parties;
  3. Parental Rights and Responsibilities, including:
    1. Contact,
    2. Care,
    3. Guardianship,
    4. Maintenance


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.



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