The Different Types of Divorces in South Africa

Your divorce will either be an opposed divorce, or it will be an unopposed divorce. These divorces are also known as contested or uncontested divorces.

Let us start with unopposed or uncontested divorces.

If you and your spouse are in total agreement about all the aspects of the divorce, then the divorce is unopposed.

These things must include:

The primary residence of minor children

Contact with minor children

How the assets and liabilities will be divided – I.e who keeps what property or animals.

If spousal maintenance is payable, and if so, how much spousal maintenance.

If anything, even just one aspect is not agreed to, then the divorce cannot proceed on an uncontested basis and will become contested.

The two main advantages of getting an unopposed divorce are that the divorce can be finalised very fast and secondly, that it is cheap compared to a contested divorce.

Typically, where spouses agree to everything, we draft a settlement agreement and then apply to the court for a date for the unopposed divorce. The Judge or Magistrate will then order a decree of divorce that incorporate the settlement agreement.

Now let us look at an opposed or contested divorce.

When a divorce is contested, it merely means that the spouses cannot agree about one or more aspects of the divorce.  This can be with whom the minor children will stay, or something small such as who will take the sofa.

The biggest two challenges of an opposed divorce are that they can become costly, and it can take years to get finalised. 

The majority of contested divorce eventually becomes settled. Once the matter is settled, we draft a settlement agreement and place the matter on the unopposed court roll, so that a decree of divorce order can be granted.

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