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Family Law

Family Law

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 diputed issues, namely custody, access and guardianship. Therefore if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.

They will evaluates the parties cicumstances 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.


Maintenance is the obligation to provide another person. for example a minor child, with food clothing and education.

Sheriffs in South Africa

A 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, click here for the High Court tariffs and here for the Magistrate’s court tariffs.

The Guardian’s Fund

The fund falls under the administation 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.

Family Law & The High Courts

A high court has jurisdiction in its own area over all persons residing or present in that area. These courts hear matters that are of such a serious nature that the lower courts would not be competent to make an appropriate judgement or to impose a penalty. Except where a minimum or maximum sentence is prescribed by law, their penal jurisdiction is unlimited and includes handing down a sentence of life imprisonment in certain specified cases. Divorce matters are also heard in the High Court. Only the High court may award or amend guardianship of a minor child. For the Rules of court click here.

Mediation Organisations – South Africa for Family Law related matters



South African Family and Divorce Law Legislation

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