How long does it take to get divorced in South Africa?
What is the quickest way to get divorced? A legal expert shares advice on the options available and how long a divorce could take to be finalised.
Here are a few ways in which you can get divorced and the how long it will take. (iStock)
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Raising a family together is hard work, and sometimes marriage and relationships don't survive. But splitting up when there are kids involved is even harder. Parent24's #dignifieddivorce series is here to help parents navigate the legal and emotional implications of a divorce.

The divorce process can be a stressful experience. It will impact on your mental, emotional and physical well being. Once a couple has decided to get divorced, they hope for the process to be finalized, as soon as possible.

Depending on the circumstances, a divorce can take anything between two months and several years to finalize.

Deborah Di Siena, of Di Siena Attorneys, discusses a few ways in which you can get divorced and the how long it will take.

Read more on the #dignifieddivorce series 

An uncontested / unopposed divorce

This is the quickest and least expensive way to get divorced.

An uncontested divorce is where the parties agree on divorce terms. A settlement agreement is prepared, which includes provisions relating to the division of assets and liabilities, residency of and contact with children and maintenance.

Once the settlement agreement has been signed by both parties, the settlement agreement can then be made an order of court.

Uncontested divorce proceedings may be finalized in a matter of weeks. 

A contested / opposed divorce

A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot agree to the terms of their divorce, for example, how the assets will be divided, who the children will reside with and maintenance payable for children.

The process is costly and time consuming and it may take between two to five years to get to court, depending on the issues in dispute.


Also read: The basics of getting divorced in South Africa

Divorce by mediation

Mediators are impartial trained professionals who are appointed to assist a couple, who are unable to agree on the terms, in negotiating and reaching an agreement.

Once an agreement is reached between the parties, an attorney can be appointed to draft the settlement agreement and proceed to make it an order of the court. Mediation can be costly, however, it is certainly far less expensive than going to court.

DIY Divorce

If the parties have reached an agreement between themselves and want to save on costs, a DIY divorce can be obtained from your local Magistrates Court, where the clerk of the court will provide you with the specific forms to be completed.

This could be finalized in just four to six weeks.

In essence, it all depends on the circumstances, the issues in dispute and whether the parties are able to communicate effectively.

Chat back:

Share your experience of divorce with us, and we could publish your letter. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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Read more:

Is failure to contribute financially grounds for divorce? A legal expert answers

'I’d be lying if I said it was easy to see my life falling apart': A reader shares her divorce experience

Can you get a divorce without your spouse’s consent?

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