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Divorcing is costly but can it be cheaper?

By Faeza
17 August 2015

Question

Why are divorce proceedings so expensive in South Africa? Is there a much cheaper and quicker way to end your marriage?

Anonymous, Bloemfontein

Ausi Nthabi answers

Divorces in South Africa are expensive because of the work that attorneys do when assisting a divorcing spouse. But a divorce can be cheap when you do it yourself and when you enter into a settlement agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. To file for divorce, go to the nearest magistrate’s court or family court. At the court, the clerk will give you documents: a divorce summons, an Annexure A form and a statistic form. Complete the summons and take the forms to court to have a case number issued. Then take the divorce summons to the sheriff to issue to your spouse, called the defendant. The person who files for divorce is called the plaintiff.

The Annexure A form needs to be taken to the office of the family court. Once the summons has been issued to the defendant, you will get a report from the sheriff, called a Return of Service. At this point seek a mediator, who will assist the two of you in negotiating and entering into a settlement agreement. Once the agreement is signed, you take it back to court and request a court date for a hearing. The divorce will be heard on an unopposed basis and finalised. This is the quickest, cheapest way to get a divorce.

Ausi Nthabi’s qualifications:

Nthabiseng Monareng holds an LLB from Wits University and is studying for her LLM.

Nthabi has more than 10 years’ experience in the legal field, specialising as a family law expert. She’s written books on family law and is a family law mediator.

How to get ahold of Ausi Nthabi:

Write a letter to Move!, PO Box 784072, Sandton 2146. If you have email, send your questions to move@media24.com, or SMS your question to Move!/Ausie Nthabi on 33443*.

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