Before we tackle the hows of divorce proceedings it is crucial to understand that we are all entitled to file for divorce in South Africa as long as you provide evidence to the court that there is no chance of settling your differences and you cannot live together any longer. Another instance is if you can provide evidence that one of the parties is continuously unconscious or mentally ill.

Did you know that divorces in South Africa do not require the other spouse’s permission? Whether your significant other is in agreement to move ahead or not, divorce proceedings will commence if you want them to.

Divorce proceedings in South Africa can go one of two ways. It can be a quick and straightforward procedure or a very drawn out one. Keep reading to discover more about how divorce law in South Africa works. Get the basics of how to get the process started here.

How to File for Divorce in South Africa

Marriage can only be dissolved by a court. This can be done in the High Court or the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court in your area.

Legally acceptable reasons for divorcing your partner include:

  • The parties no longer love each other
  • One partner has left the other
  • You have not lived together for a long time
  • Abuse
  • Adultery
  • One spouse has been institutionalised for a minimum of two years without sign of recovery

To get the ball rolling, you must have a summons served. A divorce summons must be received personally by the defendant from the sheriff of the court.

What You Will Need

Before you are granted a divorce, you are required to provide evidence that you have found solutions to the following areas:

  • How property and other assets will be divided.
  • How any maintenance payments will be made.
  • Who gets custody of the children.

Once the divorce summons is issued, your spouse has 10-20 days to respond depending on their location. When applying to end a marriage, you need:

  • Grounds for divorce
  • Details of any children
  • Your names and address details
  • Details of your marriage, such as the date and location

Contested & Uncontested Divorces

There are two categories for divorces; uncontested and contested. You are looking at a straightforward process if both spouses agree to the divorce and reach a settlement on financial and childcare issues.

An uncontested divorce is the most cost-effective for all those involved. This proceeding can be finalised within four weeks. However, if you are dealing with a contested divorce, it can take up to three years. More often than not, contested divorces are settled before they go to trial.

Do it Yourself Divorces – Filing for Divorce in South Africa Online

DIY divorces are concluded without legal representation. When divorcing without an attorney, your local magistrate’s court can provide the required forms and offer guidance on how to get a divorce without an attorney.

This is only a realistic option if your divorce is uncontested and if you have done your research into all of the admin involved.

If you would like to learn more about how to file for divorce in South Africa and get the process over with as smoothly as possible, get in touch with the Law Offices of Karen Olivier and let us help you make this process as smooth and painless as possible while protecting your rights.