Going through a divorce is never easy. It can be an incredibly emotional and stressful experience. Not only are you trying to cope with the breakdown of your relationship, you must also address incredibly important decisions and matters that will affect the rest of your life.
The process of divorce can be one of the most complex areas of family law. You will be forced to deal with sensitive issues related to child custody, child maintenance, or spousal maintenance. Emotions can escalate quickly, and you may not even have the opportunity to think about your situation logically.
With the help of a divorce attorney of Van Heerdens Attorneys, you can remain fully aware of your rights and options and have someone by your side who is fighting for your best interests and the best interests of your children.
We understand the difficulties you are facing and are about to face once you make your decision to get divorced. Whether your divorce is amicable or not, we possess the skills and experience necessary to guide you through it and assist you in managing the stress.
Get the help you need and do not pass the stress on to your family. Do not let feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or fear prevent you from seeking legal assistance. Divorce can be categorised as either contested/opposed or uncontested/unopposed.
A divorce is contested when the parties cannot reach agreement regarding the division of assets, the primary care (custody) of the children, and the amount of maintenance for the children and/or spouse. In this case, the court will be requested to decide on how to deal with the issues in dispute at the trial. A contested divorce may take anywhere from a few months to a few years to conclude. The costs of contested divorces are variable, time based and dependent on the conduct of the parties.
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will co-operate with one another to agree on the terms of your divorce. In this situation, both parties will usually consult with one of our attorneys together in order to streamline the process.
The party that institutes divorce proceedings, known as the Plaintiff, will be the only party required to appear in court on the date of the hearing. By the time the matter gets to court, the parties will have agreed on how assets will be divided and, if there are children involved, which parent will have primary care over the children, how much maintenance must be paid and visitation arrangements.
An attorney at Van Heerdens Attorneys will draft a settlement agreement, which will be signed by both parties. An uncontested divorce is by far the quickest and least expensive way to get divorced. It goes without saying that, if possible, you should attempt to resolve your divorce in an uncontested manner. An uncontested divorce can be finalised within 2 to 6 weeks.
A marriage may be dissolved by a court on the following grounds:
A court may grant a decree of divorce on the grounds of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage if the court is satisfied that the marriage relationship has reached such a state of disintegration that there is no reasonable prospect of the restoration of a normal marital relationship between them.
In terms of South African law, we have a ‘no fault’ system of divorce, which means that a divorce will be granted if one of the parties believe that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship and that there are no reasonable prospects of the marriage being restored. A marriage can therefore be dissolved even if one of the parties does not want to get divorced.
Mental illness or continuous unconsciousness:
A court may grant a decree of divorce on the grounds of the mental illness of the defendant if the court is satisfied that the defendant:
A court may grant a decree of divorce on the grounds that the defendant is, by reason of a physical disorder, in a state of continuous unconsciousness, if it is satisfied that:
As with any other action, divorce action is instituted by way of issuing summons. Summons must be served on the Defendant personally.
A court will have jurisdiction in a divorce action if one or both parties are:
If the divorce is contested, the various stages of the litigation process will ensue. This entails the following:
It may become necessary during the contested divorce process to engage the services of various experts, which may include:
A person should be careful when considering a do-it-yourself divorce, especially where there are children involved, or where there are significant assets, retirement annuities or pension funds. It is always advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced divorce and family law attorney or to involve an appropriately qualified third-party mediator, so that a detailed and proper settlement agreement or parenting plan can be drafted and agreed to. Fixing drafting errors or trying to resolve other issues after the divorce has been finalised can end up being a daunting experience for all concerned and will no doubt be a costly legal exercise.
A do-it-yourself divorce should NOT be considered if: