Frequently Asked Questions answered by Divorce Lawyers | Legal Articles

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Divorce & Family Law

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Frequently Asked Questions answered by Divorce Lawyers

1. How do you get divorced? What is the divorce procedure?

The divorce process in South Africa is fairly simple. There are two types of divorces; a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce.

To file for a divorce, you must apply for a divorce summons in either a Regional Court, Magistrate Court or High Court.

Following your divorce application, a divorce summons will be served on your spouse by the sheriff of the court.

2. How much does it cost to get divorced?

Divorces can be costly. The cost of a divorce in South Africa depends on your marriage agreement and if there is any dispute over the division of assets.

  • Uncontested Divorce

The cost of an uncontested divorce depends on the complexity of the divorce settlement agreement, including issues surrounding the division of the assets and the maintenance of minor children.

If a couple can work together to finalise issues and a settlement is reached, the divorce can cost anything between R 7 000.00 and R 10 000.00.

  • Contested Divorce

A contested divorce on the other hand can cost spouses hundreds of thousands of Rands.

If the issues are complex or either party involved is being stubborn, the divorce costs can run into the millions.

Additionally, it can and often does take more than two years for a contested divorce to be settled in court.

Furthermore, the costs in a divorce can increase depending on the attorney appointed.

For example, a senior attorney with several years of experience and who specialises in family law and divorce, charges on average between R2000 and R3000 per hour.

In most cases, an advocate is required to settle the divorce and they charge similar hourly rates. Other factors which may increase your costs in a contested divorce are court hearings which take place before even going to trial. These include applications for child maintenance and protection orders where there has been domestic violence.

Then, where there is a dispute over assets, the appointment of an expert to determine the values of the assets will also increase the costs substantially.

A way to avoid incurring such costs would be to engage in divorce mediation.

3. Divorce Settlement Agreements - How do you settle?

An uncontested divorce can be settled outside of court unlike a contested divorce which can only be settled in court or through divorce mediation. The parties can decide to settle their disputes before the process are initiated and will result in a speedy divorce.

4. How does the Anti-nuptial contract effect a divorce?

Anti-nuptial contracts protect your assets and governs how they will be distributed upon divorce. Parties can specify various terms in this agreement. For example, a party can exclude a property or a vehicle from the marriage regime and therefore it will then not be subject to the divorce proceedings.

5. What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a guide for parents on how children will be raised after separation or divorce. As a co-parenting solution, it is a written agreement that both parents have contributed to with the help of a neutral third party, usually a social worker, psychologist or family lawyer, acting as a mediator.

6. Can I claim child maintenance?

In simple, yes.

Child maintenance can be claimed when the other parent does not take responsibility for maintaining the child.

If the respondent fails to pay within the specified times, you can report the matter to the Maintenance Offices. This can be a tedious process and can take some time.

7. How long does it take to claim maintenance?

Depending on the court where the proceedings are lodged – this process can take a while. Having an attorney does help as they can follow up on your case and ensure that it is being seen to, however, the process can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.

Bailey Haynes Inc. - Divorce Lawyers Cape Town

Our divorce lawyers provide professional advice relating to all aspects of family law, including the enforcement and protection of rights in family, personal relations as well as antenuptial contracts.

Contact our divorces lawyers in Cape Town for expert legal advice and assistance with all matters relating to divorce and family law.


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