Who Gets the House on Divorce?

Who Gets the House on Divorce?

Historically 44% of South African marriages have ended in divorce, and there has reportedly been a 20% surge in new divorce applications since lockdown. For those unfortunate couples whose marriages do eventually fall apart, often the most important asset in play from both a financial and an emotional perspective is the family home. So it is crucial for any couple contemplating marriage, or currently married but considering a split, to understand what our law says about who gets what on divorce. Your divorce order as issued by the divorce court will be the “final word” here. If you have been…
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Divorce in a Time of Lockdown – What Grounds Can You Rely On?

Divorce in a Time of Lockdown – What Grounds Can You Rely On?

The National Lockdown has thrown together many couples not used to spending “24/7” time in each other’s company. Relationships will have strengthened for many couples, but others will be struggling. The fears, anxieties and money worries now looming over us all certainly won’t haven’t helped. If your marriage is one of those unfortunate ones that is foundering, counselling hasn’t helped or won’t help, and you have come to the decision that divorce is your only option, be aware that you need a formal court order before your divorce will be legally recognised. Moreover our law does not recognise the concept…
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January is “Divorce Month”: Beware the Dangers of DIY

January is “Divorce Month”: Beware the Dangers of DIY

The festivities are over, the bills are coming in and everyone is returning to reality. Couples who for most of the year only have to live with each other after work hours, have suddenly spent a whole lot more 24/7 time in each other’s close company. Little irritations have magnified, habits have got on each other’s nerves, in-laws visiting for the annual family bun fight have heightened tensions… Whatever the reasons, and whether only one party was at fault or both, January’s worldwide reputation as “divorce month” applies equally here in South Africa. This means that the legal and personal…
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Divorce Maintenance:  Can You Contract Out of It?

Divorce Maintenance: Can You Contract Out of It?

Generally, our laws hold us to the agreements we make with each other, but there are limits.  A recent High Court judgment (W v H (25394/2010) [2016] ZAWCHC 97), dealing with a bitterly-fought divorce dispute, illustrates. A Senior Advocate, having been through in his words a “very, very, very costly” divorce once, and having in mind no doubt the old proverb “once bitten, twice shy”, decided not to be bitten again when he re-married.  His new wife was a much younger “attractive trophy” wife who at the time was, said the Court, both gullible and naïve. Seeking to protect the…
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