How to get divorced in South Africa


Divorce is rarely easy. Emotions of sadness, anger and even guilt may run high.
Balancing a work and social life whilst focusing on your finances and the wellbeing of you
and your children might seem impossible.

Start Your Divorce

Our 4-step approach to uncontested divorce finalisation aims to demystify the South African divorce process by explaining steps in plain language, bringing certainty to a time characterised by uncertainty. With the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney you will be guided through the divorce process to ensure that the financial consequences of the divorce and the paperwork do not contribute to further unnecessary stress.

Two types of divorce

In South Africa there are two main types of divorce processes: uncontested and contested.

Uncontested Divorce


An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have reached an agreement. If you and your spouse are willing to agree to the terms of the divorce by signing a divorce settlement agreement and parenting plan (where relevant), we will assist you to finalise your divorce at a fixed, all-inclusive fee. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure of divorce where the parties keep control over the outcome of their case.

Click here to start the online uncontested divorce process.

Contested Divorce


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 of a contested divorce is completed, the attorneys (of usually the Plaintiff) will apply for a court date. If no settlement can be reached, pre-trials and the final trial will follow. With a contested divorce the parties have no control over the outcome of their case. The judge or the magistrate will make a decision based on the evidence that both parties have submitted to the court for consideration.

The first step of the contested divorce process is to arrange a consultation with a qualified divorce attorney to discuss the facts of your case as well as your rights. During the first consultation the divorce process and the attorney’s fee structure will be explained to you. 

Contact us today to arrange your first consultation.

More information?

We are ready to answer your questions and help you through this nerve-wracking time of life.

Our 4-step uncontested divorce process – Innovation of litigation



Click here to complete our online divorce questionnaire. After you have completed the online divorce questionnaire you will receive a mandate letter from Patton Williams Attorneys, setting out the terms of engagement, the firm’s trust banking details as well as a list of the documents you need to send to us in terms of the FICA (legislation).


For an all-inclusive local uncontested divorce, we charge R7,500.00. Please note that a deposit of R4,000.00 is payable before the drafting of your divorce papers will commence. The balance is payable within one week of obtaining your court date.



As soon as Patton Williams Attorneys receive your proof of payment (of the deposit) the drafting process will begin. We will draft all your divorce documents which include the combined summons, particulars of claim, settlement agreement, parenting plan and Annexure A for the Family Advocate (if relevant), in accordance with the contents of the divorce questionnaire that you have submitted to us.
We will send you the drafts for comments and approval before we furnish you with instructions for the signing of the final documents. It is important to note that both you and your spouse will have to sign the parenting plan (if relevant) and the settlement agreement. If not, then the contested divorce process will need to be followed or you will need to obtain a default divorce from a non-responsive spouse.


After we have received the signed documents back from you, we will attend to all further paperwork. We will issue your divorce summons at the relevant court and arrange for service of the divorce summons on your spouse (the Defendant) by the Sheriff. (In terms of South African law the Sheriff must personally serve/deliver the divorce summons on the Defendant/spouse0. Approximately 10-15 days after service of the divorce summons on your spouse, we will contact you to arrange a suitable court date. On the court date, we will accompany you to the hearing and guide you through the entire process. Please note that it is only necessary for one spouse (the plaintiff, the party who started divorce proceedings) to attend court.

4 step divorce

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