Guide to Divorce

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According to statistics released in April 2015 by Statistics South Africa; in 2013, there were 23 885 processed Divorces. This is a staggering 8.6% increase from the number of processed Divorces in 2012, and this Divorce Rate is only expected to rise.

The grounds on which to file for Divorce in terms of the Divorce Act are:

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage

Mental illness

Continuous unconsciousness

In South Africa there are different ways to do so:

Uncontested (Unopposed) Divorces

These occur when the Defendant to the Divorce application does not fight the application and the couple reach a settlement agreement or a Default Divorce is granted.

Contested (Opposed) Divorces

As the name suggests this is where the Defendant to the Divorce Application contests or fights the application. They can oppose on multiple grounds including, such as that there is no irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. They may also contest the splitting of assets.

The process of a Contested Divorce is an Action Procedure in the Civil Court. Most Divorces are lodged in the High Court but now, thanks to The Regional Courts Amendment Act, it is also possible to lodge a Divorce in the Regional Division of the Magistrate’s Court.

The Divorce Proceedings will be started by the service of a Summons and the Plaintiff’s Particulars of Claim by the Sheriff of the Court upon the Defendant. Then the Defendant will serve a Notice of Intention to defend within 10 Court Days, if not the Plaintiff can get a Default Divorce granted.

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