Uncontested Divorce in South Africa

November 23, 2023
Divorce Law
Young couple having an argument

What to Expect When Going Through an Uncontested Divorce

What is an Unopposed Divorce?

An uncontested divorce or unopposed divorce simply means that both spouses have come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, and there are no further contested issues with regards to the dissolution of the marriage. It’s also referred to as an ‘amicable divorce’.

Parties have agreed on how to divide their assets and liabilities, depending on whether they were married in or out of community of property and with or without the application of the accrual system. The agreement would also include a suitable arrangement regarding any minor children that the parties may have together, and maintenance of any adult children in certain instances.

Professional Advice on What to Consider When Divorcing

There is no exhaustive list to determine the things one should look for to decide if their matter is unopposed or opposed, because like relationships - all divorce matters are different.
Feeling uncertain about the best way to proceed is something that many people face at the prospect of divorce. The divorce attorneys at Witz Inc will be able to offer professional guidance and advice regarding what you should consider before you sign an agreement that is made an order of court.

What If You Don’t Agree on the Terms of Divorce?

If you and your spouse don’t agree on every single aspect of your divorce, it is likely that your matter will fall within the realm of a contested divorce and a different discussion will need to be had about how to resolve your matter in a way that is as effective as possible.

If your matter isn’t totally settled, don’t worry. Our Family Law attorneys have guided clients who are mostly settled in their divorce but where there were certain issues on which both parties could not come to a consensus.

Our aim is to apply the law and achieve the best outcome for you. And depending on the severity of the discrepancy between spouses, we will guide you how best we can to attempt to settle these issues between you and your spouse in the hopes of settling everything holistically without the need for unnecessary litigation.

How Divorce Works in South Africa

The decision to divorce is a big one. And most people are unsure of what comes next or what to do first. Here’s a brief outline of the divorce process and the steps you should take:

  • Schedule an appointment for a first consultation with a divorce lawyer, where you will have the space to detail your matter in its entirety.
  • After your consultation, you’ll need to share any relevant documents which will be requested from you.
  • A settlement agreement will be drafted and once finalised, both spouses will sign.
  • Thereafter, the divorce summons and particulars of the claim will be drafted.
  • The summons will then be issued by the court for a case number.
  • Once the issued summons is received back from the court, it is then sent to the Sheriff’s office in the jurisdiction which the defendant resides.
  • The sheriff will then serve the summons on the defendant personally.
  • Once the served summons is returned, the documents are sent to court to apply for a hearing date (the date of divorce) from the court.
  • The parties may or may not be required to appear in person on the hearing date depending on the court’s requirements, but it is advised that the Plaintiff be on standby for possibly any further evidence to be heard.
  • Once the matter is finalised, the court will provide a final decree of divorce to the parties.  

Documents and information to Bring With You to Your Divorce Consultation

  1. Your marriage certificate
  2. Confirmation of where and when you married
  3. Were you married culturally/religiously?
  4. Have you complied with the requirements of finalising your religious or cultural marriage?
  5. A copy of your antenuptial contract (if applicable).
  6. Any legal process that you have received from your partner or their attorney.
  7. Any other documents that you have questions about.

Things to Discuss With Your Spouse Before Seeking Legal Assistance

  1. What is most important to you in terms of settling this divorce?
  2. Where are you willing to make concessions?
  3. Are there any assets that you have purchased together during your marriage?
  4. If there are any minor child/ren born of the marriage:
    Who will the minor child/ren reside with primarily post-divorce?
  5. What school will the minor child/ren be attending?
  6. Who is going to be paying maintenance for the children (major or minor) and in what proportions?
  7. Is either spouse planning on relocating both inside or outside the Republic of South Africa?

If you’re comfortable doing so, these are just a few of the questions you can discuss as spouses before your initial consultation. It will go a long way in determining whether or not you can come to a settlement amicably, in which case yours would be an uncontested divorce.

Professional & Empathetic Legal Support

The Family Law attorneys at Witz Inc are professionals.  But we’re people too, and we understand that this is an incredibly challenging time in your life.  Our aim is to provide you with the best possible guidance and advice so that you can move forward.  We act with integrity and empathy, with no judgement.

We encourage you to reach out and schedule a consultation with our Family law team.