The Divorce Act 70 of 1979 is applicable to divorces in South Africa.
Dissolution of Marriage and grounds for divorce
A marriage may be dissolved by a court by a decree of divorce and the only grounds on which such a decree may be granted are
(a) the irretrievable breakdown
of the marriage as contemplated in section 4;
(b) the mental illness or the continuous unconsciousness, as contemplated in section 5, of a party to the marriage.
Refusal to grant divorce
If it appears to a court in divorce proceedings that despite the granting of a decree of divorce by the court the spouses or either one of them will, by reason of the prescripts of their religion or the religion of either one of them, not be free to remarry unless the marriage is also dissolved in accordance with such prescripts or unless a barrier to the remarriage of the spouse concerned is removed, the court may refuse togrant a decree of divorce unless the court is satisfied that the spouse within whose power it is to have the marriage so dissolved or the said barrier so removed, has taken all the necessary steps to have the marriage so dissolved or the barrier to the remarriage of the other spouse removed or the court may make any other order that it finds just.
Forfeiture of patrimonial benefits of marriage
(1) When a decree of divorce is granted on the ground of the irretrievable breakdown
of a marriage the court may make an order that the patrimonial benefits of the marriage be forfeited by one party in favour of the other, either wholly or in part, if the court, having regard to the duration of the marriage, the circumstances which gave rise to the breakdown thereof and any substantial misconduct on the part of either of
the parties, is satisfied that, if the order for forfeiture is not made, the one party will in relation to the other be unduly benefited.
(2) In the case of a decree of divorce granted on the ground of the mental illness or continuous unconsciousness of the defendant, no order
for the forfeiture of any patrimonial benefits of the marriage shall be made against the defendant.
Recognition of certain foreign divorce orders
The validity of a divorce order or an order for the annulment of a marriage or for judicial separation granted in a court of a foreign country or territory shall be recognized by a court in the Republic if, on the date on which the order was granted, either party to the marriage
(a) was domiciled in the country or territory concerned, whether according to South African law or according to the law of that country or territory;
(b) was ordinarily resident in that country or territory; or
(c) was a national of that country or territory.
Costs in terms of the Divorce Act
In a divorce action the court shall not be bound to make an order for costs in favour of the successful party, but the court may, having regard to the means of the parties, and their conduct in so far as it may be relevant, make such order as it considers just, and the court may order that the costs of the proceedings be apportioned between the parties.
Divorce Act – Importance
To understand the divorce act before you start with your divorce is a very important factor to take into consideration.