Types of Divorce in South Africa
There are two main types of divorce: uncontested divorce and contested divorce.
An uncontested divorce is where both spouses want a divorce and are willing to agree to the terms thereof. There must be agreement regarding the division of property, the care and contact arrangements in respect of the children, and regarding maintenance obligations. Click here for more information.
If you and your spouse cannot agree to the terms of the divorce, the contested divorce process will be the only option. A contested divorce is more complicated, drawn-out and costly than an uncontested divorce. In most contested divorces both parties will have attorneys and even Advocates to assist them with the paperwork. After the pleadings and discovery phase (where all the documents are disclosed), the attorney of the Plaintiff will apply for a court date. If no settlement can be reached, pre-trials and the final trial will follow. Click here for more information.
Forms of Divorce:
The above-mentioned main types of divorce can take on various forms, which include:
An online divorce, also referred to as an “internet divorce” is a divorce that starts with an online divorce application form. Click here for more information.
When a spouse/party simply ignores the divorce summons and fails to file any notice to show his/her intention to defend the divorce, that party will be “in default”. The Judge or Magistrate may then grant a default divorce. Click here for more information.
An international divorce in the South African context is a divorce where only one party is domiciled (permanently residing) in South Africa. Click here to read more about international divorce.
Do-it-yourself (“DIY”) divorces are divorces concluded without the assistance of an attorney. The process usually starts online. The client will only receive the divorce papers, in many cases not drafted by an attorney. The client will have to attend to all further arrangements at the Sheriff’s office, Court and Family Advocate’s office. In light of the complexity of the divorce processes, laws and court rules, it is usually advisable to appoint an attorney for assistance in this regard.
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Ilizna Esterhuyse, founder of iedivorce, divorce attorney at Viljoen Y Attorneys and author of What You Should Know Before Filing for Divorce is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specializing in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields 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.