3 Different Types of Divorce in South Africa – Which one is the Best one for you?

Getting a divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through, which is why it is so important to have a good understanding of what the 3 different types of divorce in South Africa.  What happens during the divorce proceedings will affect the rest of your life.  So while you’re dealing with the breakdown of your relationship, you still need to be able to think clearly enough to decide how you want to get divorced. Your best interest and the best interests of your children need to be the priority when making this decision. 

3 Different Types of Divorce

Contested Divorce

The first of the 3 different types of divorce is a contested divorce means that both parties are not able to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of the divorce. Disagreements usually relate to the division of assets, the primary care of the children, and child and/or spousal maintenance.

A contested divorce can also take years to conclude, which makes this type of divorce costly and emotionally draining for both parties. 

Mediation Divorce

The second of the 3 different types of divorce is Mediation Divorce is another option for couples that don’t want to enter into the typical process of divorce litigation. An attorney in this instance negotiates in order to reach a fair agreement between the parties.  The main purpose of mediation is to allow spouses to pursue an uncontested divorce. 

 

This type of divorce is more beneficial than a contested divorce as it reduces costs drastically and it can be finalised within two months or less.  Divorce mediation also allows each party to make decisions for themselves, giving them the opportunity to establish control over their legal matters, rather than leaving it up to the discretion of the court. 

Uncontested Divorce

The third of the 3 different types of divorce is an uncontested divorce is the quickest and least expensive type of divorce.  It can be finalised within 2 to 6 weeks in most cases.  This eliminates a lot of stress, which is helpful in the high stress situation that a divorce creates.

 

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on the terms of the divorce. Even though each case is unique, there are various terms that need to be agreed upon.  Some of the terms that will be discussed include: the division of moveable and immovable assets, the division of investments, pension funds and shares, spousal maintenance, child maintenance, and the custody and parental rights and responsibilities in respect of the minor children. 

 

An impartial Family Law Attorney will consult with both parties, either together or separately, to discuss and determine what will happen regarding the aforementioned aspects.  Once the parties have agreed on all issues in respect of the dispute, the Family Law Attorney will draft a settlement agreement, which is then signed by both parties and made an order of court.  In this case, no formal trial takes place.  Only the party who instituted the divorce will need to appear in court on the day of the hearing.  

 

The court process to be followed in respect of each of the three different types of divorce, as mentioned above, will vary depending on the circumstances. It goes without saying that the court process to be followed in a Contested Divorce is far more complex and time-consuming than the process to be followed in a Mediation Divorce or Uncontested Divorce.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, an uncontested divorce is without a doubt the quickest, easiest and most affordable option.  We do understand however that this is not always possible.  Emotions, bad decisions and poor guidance can often cause a divorce to become far more stressful and costly than it needs to be.  

Van Heerdens Attorneys, have the expertise and experience in all matters relating to divorce in South Africa and in particular with the 3 different types of divorce.  Follow our facebook page for more blog updates.  

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