Technology allows people to buy groceries online, sell their homes and find advice for anything from a strange rash to relationship trouble. So why not get divorced online too?
That is exactly what more and more South Africans have been doing since websites such as www.edivorce.co.za and www.divorce2day.co.za went live in the past four months. And it costs only about R1 000, a fraction of what you’d usually pay.
A DIY divorce on the internet takes those expensive trips to an attorney’s office out of the equation in an already exhausting, stressful and lengthy process.
The R6 000 average price tag of an uncontested divorce is more than most people can afford.
“If you do a divorce the usual way the first visit to an attorney can cost you anything between R500 and R1 500. Then there are follow-up visits,” says Sharon West, an attorney with Attorneys Rossouw in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, which runs the divorce2day.co.za site that launched in July.
Online divorce has been available in Britain since the late ’90s and it’s a growing trend in South Africa too. But this doesn’t mean you can get divorced with just a click of the mouse. Websites for online divorces handle uncontested cases only.
The websites spoon-feed those seeking a divorce with all the information, forms and documents recognised by the High Court of South Africa and give them step-by-step instructions for what to do.
The drastic reduction in costs means at the end of the online procedure you have to take your own paperwork to court - that’s three court visits in a month including the final hearing, something an attorney usually does for a fee.
The sites also offer contact information for support groups around the country and advice about issues such as maintenance and custody.
You can also buy books on divorce, follow a blog on divorce issues and find advice about coping with the emotional stresses of divorce and tips on how to move on afterwards.
“Divorce is daunting for anyone. Having this service doesn’t mean we want people to get divorced but it takes away the fear and schlep of going to an attorney for the first time,” divorce2day.co.za attorney and founder Danie Rossouw says.
- See YOU (11 Oct issue) for a general outline of the procedure followed in an online divorce.
- Call divorce2day.co.za on 021-785-2277 and eDivorce.co.za on 083-533-4428 or visit their websites.