Uncontested Divorce – What Happens on Court Day?
The uncontested divorce papers have been signed, the documents have been served, the Family Advocate has endorsed the parenting plan … and the court date has arrived. What happens next?
This article explains the court day procedure for uncontested divorces, managed by Divorce Attorney, Nazli Williams (iedivorce) from Patton Williams Attorneys, in plain language.
Arriving at Court
Your divorce attorney will be waiting for you at Court. If the uncontested divorce is heard at the High Court in Cape Town, Pretoria or Johannesburg, the meeting time will usually be before 10:00. In an uncontested divorce matter only one spouse will have to appear at Court to testify – usually the Plaintiff.
- Make sure you know where the Court is located before the court date. Don’t be late.
- Make sure you have your attorney’s telephone number to call him/her, should you struggle to find the Court building, to get parking or to see him/her at Court.
- Don’t bring your children to Court with you.
Meeting the Advocate
If an Advocate has been appointed, your divorce attorney will introduce you to your Advocate. The attorney/Advocate will explain the process of testifying in Court. He/she will quickly run through the questions that will be asked in front of the Judge/Magistrate.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…
The actual time in front of the Judge/Magistrate is only a few minutes, but the waiting time can be anything from a few minutes to a few hours. The length of the court roll and the order in which the matters are called, will affect the waiting time.
At Patton Williams Attorneys we understand that a morning at Court can be quite overwhelming and stressful for some, and that is why we never leave our clients to wait alone. We wait with our clients and make 100 % sure that they know exactly where and when they need to sit, stand and speak before they are called to testify.
The Divorce Order is Granted
After the matter is called, you will have to testify. This means that you will have to answer certain questions in front of the Judge/Magistrate. The Judge/Magistrate will grant the Order if the papers are in order and if he/she is satisfied that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Documents to Bring
In most cases the attorney will only ask that the client bring his/her original marriage certificate to Court.
TOP TIP: Read this article if you don’t know where your original marriage certificate is and need to request a new version.
The Dress Code
Advocates will wear their togas. Attorneys will usually wear corporate/office wear. Even though there is no specific dress code for clients, it is always advisable to stay away from skimpy or uncomfortable outfits.
More Questions About Uncontested Divorce?
Nazli Williams, director at Patton Williams Attorneys and co-author of What You Should Know Before Filing for Divorce (2020 edition) is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specializing in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of 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.