There is no denying the fact that divorce has now turned into one of the most common cases in local courts in South Africa today. The primitive discernment that a divorced man or woman is held in contempt by society is no longer distinctive in recent times.
While the whole legal process involved in a divorce can be largely wearisome and takes a while, the more perplexing part is how much one spends during the process. The truth is, the legal fees for divorce can be principally expensive. Typically, the lawyers involved work based on the budget you have set out to spend. This post takes a look at an estimated cost of divorce in South Africa.
Cost of Getting a Divorce in South Africa
It is a tad difficult to estimate the exact cost of divorce in South Africa as it extensively vary from one case to the other. Generally, the overall amount spent on the divorce process depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. Nonetheless, knowing what to anticipate and how divorce processes run can help involved parties cut down on some of the expenses. It also helps you pointedly strategize where the bigger expenditures tend to rise.
As it stands, based on general reports from various legal sources across the country, the overall cost of filing divorce case ranges between R$9,000 to R$21,600 depending on the court, lawyers’ charges and occasionally, the reason for the divorce.
Although the overall divorce process takes between one to three years, it could drag on in court for many more years, and in certain cases, less. Apart from the exclusive legal costs, couples with conflicting variances are often discouraged from the court processes due to personal reasons, family influence or even joint agreement.
Generally, lawyers charge lower for divorce cases that are usually not complicated. Cases like this usually don’t drag for too long in court. Also, you wouldn’t expect to spend so much on divorce cases for customary marriages. This is because, like the first instance, there are usually no complications involved in such instances. The location the court is situated also affects how much you might spend on the case. For instance, settling divorce cases in Pretoria or Johannesburg are bound to be more expensive than going through the same process in some other parts of the country.
What You Should Know About Divorce process
One of the first questions most divorcees ask is who pays the lawyers’ fees? In many cases, each parties involved pays their individual fees. In some other cases, one of the parties can demand that the partner pay some part of the fees, especially if it was the partner that initiated the divorce process in the first place. This, and issues that are more similar may be decided on in the divorce settlement, and it may also hang on the actual cause for the divorce.
As stated earlier, there are many actors that determine the total cost of divorce. One of the most important though, is the likelihood of disagreement in the proceedings. Meanwhile, a divorce supplicant where issues like custody of a child and defrayal of properties are in discussed is usually expected to consult a skilled lawyer or an established law firm due to the delicacy of the issues. With this though, you can expect to spend more here.
Generally, divorce processes are way cheaper and less demanding in cases where both parties involved decide and agree on majority of the terms in the divorce process settlement. In cases like this, involvement of lawyers are usually minimal, therefore decreasing how much to be spent on the process. If probable, pondering on the terms of the divorce could be a fair idea for both parties. If both parties are able to deliberate and agree on the core parts of the divorce process, the overall process will be less stressful and easier.
Despite the amplified rate of divorce in South Africa today, the plausibly expensive financial effect has not necessarily halted the process, with lots of partners still looking to separate by verbal agreement, which is largely cheaper and less stressful.
Grounds for Divorce
According to the constitution, there are grounds for divorce provided in the Matrimonial Causes Act. The main ground for divorce in South Africa is a situation where marriage has broken down permanently.
Here are some of the core facts about divorce according to section 15(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act:
- When the respondent (the party being sued) wilfully and persistently refuses to consummate the marriage.
- When the respondent commits adultery and the petitioner (the party filing for divorce) cannot tolerate it.
- When the respondent behaves in a way that the petitioner can no longer cohabit with the respondent.
- In a situation where the respondent deserts the petitioner for a continuous period of at least one year preceding the presentation of the petition.
- Where the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent does not object to a decree being granted.
- Where the parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least three years immediately preceding the presentation of the parties.
- Where the other party to the marriage has, for a period of not less than one year failed to comply with a decree or restitution of conjugal rights made under this Act.
- Where the other party to the marriage has been absent from the petitioner for such time and in such circumstances as to provide reasonable grounds for presuming that he or she is dead.