You have been married for what seems like ages and have a couple of children in the mix. Together you have built a great home and have a good job, everyone seems pretty happy with life. Then your spouse, unexpectedly, drops the bombshell……I WANT A DIVORCE.
Where do you start, because obviously there are a number of things to be considered? First thing to consider is how you were married to begin with, in community of property, out of community of property and out of community of property with accrual, as this will affect the division of assets.
There are typically two types of divorces:
- contested or opposed divorce,
- uncontested or unopposed.
The uncontested divorce is the best and most cost effective for all parties concerned. This type of agreement can be finalized by way of a settlement agreement. The contested divorce can take years to settle, while the uncontested divorce can be finalized in shorter time period. South Africa, has a ‘no fault’ system of divorce, this means that a divorce will be granted if either one of the parties believes that there has been an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship’ and that there are no reasonable prospects of restoring it. So, a marriage can be dissolved even if only one of the parties wishes to get divorced.
Things that will have to be agreed upon are:
- division of assets,
- joint trusts and retirement funds
- parenting plan –which includes children’s living arrangements, non-custodian parent & contact
- maintenance – spousal & children
No matter if you are dealing with a contested or uncontested divorce it is still advisable to consult with a lawyer before finalizing anything, even if you are doing a DIY divorce.