]tfroval divorce-south-africa-surprising-factsThere’s no fun in the “fun facts” about divorce in South Africa. We compiled a list of 6 interesting facts about marriage and divorce in South Africa that might just surprise you.

7 Interesting Facts about Marriage & Divorce in South Africa:

1. Most men are 43 years old when they get divorced.

According to the latest report on marriage and divorce released by Statistics South Africa, the median ages at divorce (in 2014) were 43 years for men and 40 years for women. Visit Statistics South Africa report on marriage and divorce for updated statistics.) 

2. Minor children can get married in South Africa.

A minor child over the age of puberty (12 for girls, 14 for boys) may get married if the necessary consent  has been obtained from his/her parents or guardian(s) and in certain circumstances the permission from the Minister of Home Affairs. Read Child Marriages in South Africa  for more information.

3. Adultery is not a stand-alone reason/ground for divorce.

A Judge or Magistrate may grant a divorce order on the grounds of irretrievable (permanent) breakdown of a marriage. Extra-marital affairs (adultery) may lead to an irretrievable breakdown when at least one spouse finds it impossible to continue a normal marriage relationship as a result of adultery, but adultery in itself is not a stand-alone ground/reason for divorce.

Read The Grounds for Divorce in South Africa for more information.

4.  A wife can keep her ex-husband’s surname or change her surname after divorce.

An application at a Home Affairs office must be lodged together with the payment of the required fee to change a surname. Read Section 26 of Births and Deaths Registration Act and the Home Affairs website for more details.

5. In most divorces the couples have only been married for 5 – 9 years.

According to statistics, the largest number of the divorces were for marriages that lasted between five and nine years. (Visit Statistics South Africa report on marriage and divorce for updated stats.)

6. Women initiate divorce proceedings more often than men.

According to the most recent Statistics South Africa report on marriage and divorce, there were more female than male Plaintiffs in divorce matters (in 2014). The women who started divorce proceedings were mainly in professional, semi-professional and technical occupations.

7. Failure to register your customary marriage does not invalidate it.

In terms of section 4(9) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998 failure to register your customary marriage within the prescribed period does not affect the validity of the marriage. However, you have a duty to register your customary marriage. Registering your customary marriage will make it easier for your to prove the existence of the marriage should you want to claim anything from or on behalf your spouse, especially if you want to claim maintenance or inherit from that spouse. [Look out for a more in detail blog post on this topic coming soon.]

Do you have any questions about divorce in South Africa? Contact the iedivorce team for expert advice.

Divorce Attorney Cape Town, Nazli WilliamsNazli Williams (BCom LLB), the director of Patton Williams Attorneys, is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specializing in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of expertise and interest include Divorce Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence Law and International Divorce Law. Her vision is to demystify Family Law processes, helping good people in plain language and with great technology, to achieve remarkable results.