A marriage in South Africa can only be dissolved by an order of a Court. Divorce proceedings are therefore either instituted in the High Court or the Regional Court and are instituted by the spouse who wants to end the marriage by serving a summons on the other spouse. The other spouse can decide whether he/she wants to oppose the divorce or not.

Thus there are two types of divorces, namely contested or opposed divorce and uncontested or unopposed divorce. This article will focus on the uncontested/unopposed divorce process. It is advisable to follow the uncontested divorce route as it the most cost-effective process and can be finalised within four to six weeks.

 In this instance, both spouses work together to reach a consensus on the terms of their divorce. Prior to the divorce, the parties will agree on how to divide their assets and if there are children involved, which parent will be the parent of primary residence and which will be the parent of alternate residence. The spouses will thus consult with the same attorney, who will be impartial and assist in the drafting of a settlement agreement and parenting plan (if children involved) signed by both spouses and then be made an order of the court. There is no formal trial in an uncontested divorce and only the plaintiff (the spouse who instituted the divorce proceedings) will have to appear in court. Therefore, this type of divorce is the least expensive way to get a divorce and the best option for all parties involved.

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