South African Family and Divorce Law

Family law or matrimonial law incorporates family matters and domestic relationships such us:

  • marriage;
  • civil unions;
  • divorce;
  • annulments;
  • child custody;
  • best interest of the child;
  • maintenance;
  • child abuse;
  • domestic violence.

The Family Advocate

The family Advocate assist the parties to reach an agreement on disputed issues, namely custody, access and guardianship. Therefore if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.

They will evaluates the parties’ circumstances in light of the best interest of the child and makes recommendation to the Court with regard to custody and access. The Family Advocate is a legal officer employed by the Department of Justice and act as legal representative of the children.

The services of the Family Advocate rendered to the public free of charge.

Sheriffs in South Africa

Sheriff is an official appointed by the Minister for Justice to perform within the area of jurisdiction of the lower or superior court for which he has been appointed the functions assigned by or under any law to a sheriff of the court. Their functions are set out in various pieces of legislation, including the Supreme Court Act and the Magistrates Courts Act, along with the respective set of rules for each Act. Sheriffs, amongst other functions, serve documents like the Summons in a divorce action, garnishee order or a writ of execution on a Defendant/Respondent. Their fees are fixed in terms of legislation.

The Guardian’s Fund

The fund falls under the administration of the Master of the High Court. It is a fund created to hold and administer fund which are paid to the Master on behalf of various persons known or unknown , for example, minors, persons incapable of managing their own affairs.

South African Family and Divorce Law Legislation

Marriage Act 25 of 1965

marriage_act_25_of_1961 (1)


Divorce Act, 1979



Civil Unions


Child Rights

childrens_act (2)


Domestic Violence and Harassment



Matrimonial Property

matrimonial_property_act_88_of_1984 (1)