HOW TO GET A DIVORCE
OPTION 1 – DIY Divorce
How to get a divorce and the correct documents. For instance you will have to go to the court that would have jurisdiction, you as the plaintiff are ordinarily resident.
This means the court in which area you reside. If you entered into a settlement agreement, you merely ask for a decree of Divorce, Therefore, incorporating the settlement agreement.
You are entitled:
- If you can prove to a court that you and your spouse can no longer live together and there is no chance of resolving your differences.
- If one of the spouses is mentally ill or continuously unconscious
You do not have to get your spouse’s permission to get a divorce. If your spouse is not willing, you can get a divorce granted without his or her consent.
In special circumstances you may get your marriage annulled. An annulment differs from a divorce in that it not only dissolves the marriage but also wipes it off the record.
Legal separation does not exist in South Africa even if you are no longer living with your husband and not divorced. According to the law, you are still married.
You can proceed in either the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court having jurisdiction in your area or in the High Court.
To start the process you need to have a summons served. A divorce summons must be served personally on the defendant by the sheriff of the court.
There are two types.
The uncontested divorce is the best and most cost effective for all parties concerned. It can be finalised within 4 weeks. If a divorce is contested it may take between 2 – 3 years, but most contested divorces do settle long before they go on trial.
A civil marriage and customary marriage need to be dissolved by a court.
Note: A default divorce is similar to an uncontested/unopposed divorce. This works when your spouse does not respond at all to the divorce.
- Your spouse will receive a summons with a date to respond.
- If they do not respond, you can apply at the High Court, to add it to the roll.
- The court will decide on your behalf and end your marriage.
There is two options available for you:
- You can use the service of an attorney, he or she will draft all the court documentation for you and will do all the administration for you.
- DIY divorce get all the court documentation and do all the administration yourself.
Do-it-yourself divorces are concluded without the help of an attorney, and are thus far cheaper option. Divorcing without an attorney can be achieved in two ways:
- Your local magistrate’s court can provide you with the necessary forms and give you guidance on how to conclude your own divorce without legal representation.
Doing your own divorce might be an option when your divorce:
- is uncontested;
- is not complicated;
- you have been married for a short period of time;
- you don’t have substantial assets to divide;
- there are no disputes regarding any children; and/or
- you are prepared to do all the admin yourself.
Your Divorce does not have to be an expensive process.
OPTION 2 – Attorney Assisted Divorce
Easy process to follow. Therefore we wil do all the work for you. Hence, you only have to appear in court.
An uncontested dovorce can be finalized in four to six weeks depending on the court role. Therefore, it is not necessary for both parties to appear together in court.
The process of an uncontested divorce is relatively simple. As already mentioned, the parties usually enter into a settlement agreement and parenting plan (when children are involved) prior to the divorce. Once the settlement agreement and parenting plan are signed by both parties and witnesses, the divorce process can commence.
Usually, the settlement agreement and parenting plan will be attached to a summons and a particulars-of-claim document. The plaintiff then issues the summons and annexures at court.
The court registrar will open a file, stamp the documents and allocate a case number. The documents will then be handed back to the plaintiff and the plaintiff will deliver two sets of these documents to the sheriff in the area where the defendant resides or work. The sheriff will then serve the documents personally on the defendant and issue a return of service proving that the documents were served.
Easy online form to complete, we will do all the work for you. Divorce can be completed in 6 – 8 weeks.
OPTION 3 – International Divorce
Edictal Citation is used. Where the Defendant lives in another country. Therefore the Plaintiff must use a process called Edictal Citation. Hence, the Plaintiff must first approach the High Court or the Regional court by the way of an Edictal Citation Application.
This affords permission to a Plaintiff to serve the Divorce documents on a spouse in a foreign country. Therefore, personal service is required.
Firstly, it is important that the Court will require that the Plaintiff is domiciled in the Court’s jurisdictional area on the date that your Divorce Proceedings commence.
Secondly that you are usually resident in that area.
Further that you have been living there for not less than a period on one year immediately prior to that date.
A Summons must be served on the Defendant in person. Therefore, the Court needs to be satisfied that service will be done properly. Above all, by an official of the Court in a foreign country.
You can download form and forward to us or you can complete form online to proceed with International Divorce.
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