Steps In The Divorce Process In South Africa

The first legal step to take in the divorce process in South Africa is to issue a divorce summons to your local district family or magistrates court. There are a number of items that need to be included in this divorce summons namely:

  • Custodianship of any minors that form part of the marriage union whether natural or adopted.
  • Access and visitation of these minors to the non-custodian parent.
  • Spousal or child maintenance with regards to the amount to be paid, when payments will be made and to who will receive these payments.
  • And last but not least, the division of all assets and liabilities according to the type of marriage union that was entered into.
  • Before issuing a divorce summons, it is important that the two parties in the divorce process in South Africa try to reach some sort of agreement with regards to the above four points.This will speed up the divorce proceedings and leave each spouse with more control over how their marriage is dissolved. However, if no agreement can be reached on any of the above four points, the court will come to a decision on the party’s behalf that is in line with divorce law and considered fair to both parties. In either case, both parties will need to appear in court to confirm the information that is contained in the divorce summons is true and correct. If the court finds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the information in the summons is true and correct, a divorce order will be granted which in effect ends the divorce process and results in the dissolution of the marriage. However, divorce proceedings may differ slightly should either party dispute the summons thereby contesting the divorce.

    In this event, the court will need to decide whether the marriage has indeed broken down irretrievable based on testimony and evidence produced by both parties. The court may order the couple to seek marriage counselling or other forms of remedial therapy regarding the marriage before granting a divorce order. This makes it important to ensure that the married couple has made efforts to reconcile their differences and that the marriage is irretrievable before entering the divorce process.

    For more information on steps that should be taken before and during the divorce process in South Africa before issuing a divorce summons, please contact us today.