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What is an uncontested divorce?
  • By Rachel
  • In Divorce Legal
  • 2020-07-16 07:20:34

What is an uncontested divorce?

After deliberating the options for some time, you and your partner have decided that getting a divorce is the only way forward for your relationship. Because this is a stressful time for both of you, you’ve decided to work together towards a solution that will lead to the best possible outcome in the shortest amount of time – an uncontested divorce. But what does this really mean?

Different types of divorces

In the broadest of terms, divorces are usually either ‘contested’ – the parties involved are having trouble agreeing on a suitable way to divide their assets – or ‘uncontested’, where the terms of the divorce are agreed to beforehand by everyone involved. It is also possible for parties to hire a mediator. Mediated divorces are often done in situations where the parties would prefer, as their first option, to obtain an uncontested divorce, but are uncertain of how to go about dividing their assets and need professional advice.

Couple shaking hands after an uncontested divorce

What do you need for an uncontested divorce?

In some instances parties start the divorce process thinking that they will be able to obtain an uncontested divorce only for one of the parties to change their mind once the process has started. It is therefore of the utmost importance to be completely sure the following criteria are met before attempting an uncontested divorce:

  • Have both parties agreed to a divorce?
    This does seem a little obvious, but it is still very important to keep in mind that an uncontested divorce is only possible if both parties agree to the divorce. This means that you have to be sure neither party will change their mind half-way through the process.
  • Have both parties agreed on how to divide their assets?
    Not having agreed on how to divide the assets is essentially the definition of a contested divorce. Therefore, it is important that everyone involved take some time to discuss the division of the assets before starting the divorce proceedings.
  • Have both parties agreed on what will happen to the children?
    A divorce is always a little more complicated when there are children involved, but it doesn’t mean that an uncontested divorce is out of the question. If both parties can agree on which parent will act as the primary caregiver, how access to the children will be facilitated and how maintenance will be paid, proceedings can go ahead unhindered.

Though it is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the legislation around marriage and divorce, the divorce process in South Africa is reasonably uncomplicated. Divorces can be lodged in the High Courts of South Africa or the Regional Court of the Magistrates Court that has jurisdiction over your area and, in cases where all the necessary documentation has been submitted without problems, the process is finalised within 6 weeks, depending on the availability of the court. On the day an attorney will accompany you to court where you will be asked a few questions by the advocate or judge before your divorce order is granted.

Judge's gavel in court room

At Divorce Legal we understand that a divorce is a difficult emotional time. And for that reason we are here to assist you the whole way and to make the divorce process as easy as possible. Our highly qualified professionals have years of experience and will assist you in getting your divorce proceedings finalised as quickly and painlessly as possible. To get started is easy, simply get in contact with us today and we’ll advise you on the process.