Getting a Divorce in South Africa | Legal Articles

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Divorce & Family Law

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Getting a Divorce in South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs released statistics for 2015 which show an amount of 143 279 marriages being concluded. The statistics also indicate that 41% of marriages ended up in divorce for the year of 2015. There has also been an indication that the amount of marriages being concluded every year is dropping while the amount of divorces taking place each year is increasing. With such a high percentage of divorces taking place each year, it is important to discuss what a divorce process might entail.

What is the divorce process - explained by our divorce lawyers

Spousal maintenance and maintenance of minor children

When one decides to get a divorce, it is not merely an order which releases you from one another. It might also have to deal with spousal maintenance, maintenance of minor children, the division of assets as well as any liabilities incurred by either spouse. Therefore a divorce could become a rather complicated process.

How long does it take to finalise a divorce?

One of the first questions asked by people who want to get a divorce is how long will it take. Depending on the circumstances, a divorce could take as little as 4 weeks and as long as 3 years before it is finalised. A big factor in determining how long it will take is whether you and your spouse are in agreement to get divorced and what will happen with the assets, liabilities and minor children, if any. It is therefore best to get your ducks in a row before you take that first step in instituting divorce proceedings.

One of the first hurdles to jump through is to confirm in terms of which marital regime you got married. This would be displayed on your marriage certificate. Your marital regime plays an important role in determining what happens with assets and liabilities accumulated before and during the subsistence of the marriage. In South Africa, we have two main marital regimes, married in community of property and married out of community of property. If you are married out of community of property, it could either be with the accrual (which if not expressly excluded, is automatically included) or without the accrual.

It is important to remember that a divorce has an impact of every arena of your life such as financial, emotional and legal. If you and your spouse can not agree upon a settlement which benefits both of you, it is best to seek legal advice in order to protect your rights through a difficult process, where judgment can be clouded by emotions.

If you are considering to get a divorce, there are a few things you can do now to help the process along;

  1. Get the original/certified copy of your marriage certificate and if applicable, the ante-nuptial contract.
  2. If there are minor children, decide as to which parent the minor children will primarily reside with. Try draw up a parenting plan.
  3. Gather a list of all assets accumulated before and during the marriage by both spouses.
  4. Get as much information as possible about all debts accumulated by both spouses.
  5. Protect yourself – change passwords, start saving money in a separate account for legal fees and any other costs relating to the divorce process, relook at your will and change beneficiaries where need be.
  6. Seek professional legal advice.

Bailey Haynes Inc. – Divorce Lawyers Cape Town

Family law is a personal and sensitive area that must be handled by skilled and proficient experts.

Bailey Haynes Inc. 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 attorneys in Cape Town for more information about our services.


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