GUIDE TO DIVORCE

To be honest, sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The same goes for marriages. There can be various reasons for disintegration of your marriage between you and your spouse.

Please note that this in only applicable on civil South African marriages. Traditional marriages will be discussed in another article. 

To start off, divorces can be classified into contested and uncontested: 

DIVORCE

CONTESTED

Unpredictable Costs

Can take 2-3 years

UNCONTESTED

Predictable to low costs

Can take up to 6 months

Note that contested divorces can change to uncontested as soon as a settlement is reached between the relevant spouses. 

There are 3 grounds for divorce in South Africa: 

MENTAL ILLNESS

– If your spouse has been admitted as a mental patient to an institution or

-Detained as a State patient or

-Detained as a mentally ill convicted prisoner.

– Your spouse has for a continuous period of at least 2 years immediately prior to institution of the divorce proceedings, not been discharged unconditionally.

CONTINUOUS UNCONCIOUSNESS

– When your spouse’s unconcious lasted for a continuous period of at least 6 months immediately prior to the institution of the divorce proceedings.

IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN

– If sufficient proof is provided to the Court that the relationship between the parties have reached such a state of disintegration that no reasonable prospect of a normal marriage relationship is possible.

If the Court is convinced that there is a possibility that the parties may reconcile through counselling, the Court may postpone the proceedings to enable the parties to attempt reconciliation. 

Top Tip: In South Africa, there is no need to prove either side has fault to the disintegration of the marriage relationship. 

SETTLEMENT

ROUND TABLE

– The parties get together in an attempt to settle the matter by means of a negotiation

– These negotiations are an attempt in good faith to settle and are thus privileged.

MEDIATION

– A neutral third party is appointed to assist the parties in reaching a settlement.

– The mediator facilitates the negotiations and has no authority over the parties

There is more to divorce than just the above. Maintenance, pension funds and the rights of children are discussed here, in a separate article. Remember that it’s always important to contact your lawyer for advice on your specific situation. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

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