Engelbrecht Attorneys is one of the most trusted Divorce Attorneys in Pretoria.
The decision of permanent separation from your spouse or partner is never pleasant when you have to think about difficulties such as:
You have to move to a new home.
Who the children will be residing with.
What your contact rights with the children will entail.
Divorce Lawyers in Pretoria
With Engelbrecht Attorneys on your side, we will help you get the best suitable divorce settlement during the divorce process to secure your future after the legal separation.
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Divorce Process In South Africa
A divorce matter can either be heard in the Regional Court of the Magistrates Court having jurisdiction in the matter, or alternatively in the High Court. Most divorces are lodged at the High Court, the problem with this lying therein that an opposed divorce can take between 2-3 years to finalize.
A summons is issued at the Court having jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is determined by the following factors:
- The area in which the parties were domiciled on date of issuing of the summons;
- The parties have to be ordinarily resident in the jurisdiction of the said court, meaning that they have to stay in the jurisdiction area for at least one year prior to the date of issuing of summons.
Two Different Types Of Divorces
1. Contested (opposed)
When a divorce is opposed, the parties don’t agree on the terms and conditions of the separation or dissolution of the marriage. An opposed divorce is a lengthy and expensive process, which can take up to 3 years to finalize. The emotional burden is also evident in divorce matters which are opposed.
2. Uncontested (Unopposed)
This type of divorce is the best way and most cost effective. The parties agree on the terms and conditions of the divorce settlement. The terms and conditions of the separation are included in the settlement agreement, which is signed by both parties. The settlement agreement is then made an order of the court and the estates are divided in terms of the settlement agreement. This type of divorce can take between 2-4 months.
When Children Are Involved
When parties to divorce proceedings decide not to oppose the divorce proceeding, the process is quite simple. A settlement agreement and parenting plan are entered into, prior to the divorce.
The settlement agreement and parenting plan will accompany the summons, which will be issued at court and delivered to the sheriff to be served upon the Defendant. The Settlement Agreement, however, needs to be approved by the Family Advocate before the divorce order will be issued by the Court.
The Division of the Estate
When parties own immovable property in equal shares and when the divorce is unopposed. then the parties will agree to either sell or have the property transferred into one party’s name. The parties can decide to either put the immovable property up for sale as soon as the divorce proceedings commence or after the divorce order has been granted.
The parties need to be wary of the fact that alternative accommodation needs to be acquired. Finances have to be checked, to ascertain that both parties will have the necessary finances to obtain new accommodation. In this instance it is advisable to appoint a Divorce Attorney to deal with the transfer as well, as the Transfer Attorney will have the necessary history of the parties and will be in a position to better advise the parties of the uncertainties regarding finances.
What Happens After Divorce Regarding The Division Of Liquid Assets?
The Divorce Attorney will obtain the divorce order, as well as settlement agreement, which will accompany the necessary correspondence to each institution where liquid assets (investments, policies etc) are held. The institution will then supply a form to be completed. Once received, the funds can be paid. This process takes up to three weeks after date of divorce.
Important notes to remember:
South Africa has a ‘no fault’ divorce system: if one of the parties believes that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, then the other party’s consent is not needed for the divorce order to be granted by the court.