FAMILY LAW - DIVORCES IN SOUTH AFRICA
Divorces are considered to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life and if not advised correctly, could not only cripple you emotionally but financially as well.
When briefing an attorney for a divorce it pays to ensure that all legal costs are agreed to and discussed up-front especially taking into account the different manners one may elect to approach a divorce, as set out below.
A divorce process is instituted by way of a combined summons, a document which must be served personally by the Sheriff.
Parties can approach either the High Court, which is more expensive with longer waiting periods for a hearing date, or, the Regional division of the Magistrates Court, which is generally cheaper and easier to navigate, from having the summons issued to the finalising of the matter.
When deciding which approach to follow, parties must consider the jurisdiction of the court, the type of divorce procedure and their financial means.
There are essentially three types of divorce procedures, irrespective of your marital regime: Contested, Mediated and Uncontested divorces.
Contested or opposed divorces usually take years to finalise as parties cannot agree on the terms and conditions of their divorce and have to approach the court for adjudication. Contested divorces are emotionally and financially taxing on both parties, and where possible, should be avoided. Legal costs
here skyrocket at a rapid rate.
The second type, being mediated divorces, take longer, as parties are unable to settle on the terms of their separation, and are more expensive than uncontested divorces. In these cases, a mediator is appointed to assist with the negotiations and drafting of a settlement agreement.
Uncontested or unopposed divorces are the quickest and most effective, financially and emotionally. The parties amicably agree on the terms of their divorce relating to maintenance, care and contact of any minor children, and the division of any property owned. These terms are then reduced to writing
by way of a settlement agreement, signed and then made an order of court. This approach is highly recommended, where possible.
One also has to bear in mind the corona virus restrictions which have not only affected our daily lives but the procedures followed in our courts. This means that additional steps and requirements have been put in place prior to being able to obtain a divorce order.
As such, should you find yourself in need of a divorce attorney, contact Phillip Silver Mathura on 011 - 646 8411