Free DIY Online Divorce Guide and Court documents – High Court, Cape Town, Western Cape
This article deals with uncontested divorces in the Western Cape High Court, Cape Town, for marriage In Community of Property. It further provides legal guidance on doing your divorce, with an online divorce. These free divorce resources relate to divorces in the Western Cape instituted from the High Court. Other courts may follow similar practices. It is suggested that you consult with a legal practitioner before instituting divorce legal proceedings, especially if there are minor children and a large estate involved.
If you require assistance or legal represenation in a divorce in any Court in South Africa, feel free to schedule a consultation with using the online form further below.
Online Divorce Form
The online divorce form is provided below to kick start the divorce process. After completing the form, and pressing “submit”, our online system will send you an email with the information you provided, as well with links where you may download the following:
Marriages ending up in divorce
When the marriage of a couple has broken down, a divorce may be the best option. If this route is followed, then a friendly process should ensure. There is no need for spouses to fight over a divorce. It is waste of money and if there are children involved, they may come out traumatised. Therefore, in the interest of all concerned, an uncontested divorce is the best option in most cases.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce happens in one of the following situations:
- The couple agrees beforehand to the terms of the divorce, and then enters into a Settlement Agreement or Consent Paper. One party would then initiate the divorce proceedings, and the other party won’t defend it on the basis of entering into a settlement agreement or consent paper
- The couple are not on friendly terms. One of them institute divorce proceedings and stipulate in the summons what they want. The other party receives the summons and does not have issue with what the other spouse is asking for. The divorce then proceeds as prayed for in the Summons.
- A spouse instituted divorce proceeding and the other spouse defended it. After the lawyers or parties spoke, they came to some type of an agreement. The party then withdrew his defence and the divorce proceeded undefended.
How long does an uncontested divorce take?
An uncontested divorce where the parties agrees upon the terms of the divorce beforehand, can take approximately 4 (four) weeks from start to finish. The time periods can be estimated as follows:
- 3 to 5 days to draft the Summons and Settlement Agreement. The Parties requires some time obtain information regarding pension funds, how to divide the join estate and so on.
- A day to issue the summons and about 2 days for it to be served on the Defendant by the Sheriff. A better option is for the Defendant to be served at the office of the Sheriff. In this case, there is no need for the Sheriff to visit the Defendant at his place of work or home.
- 10 working days must then elapse after the summons has been served on the Defendant.
- Once the 10 days has elapsed, the divorce may be set down on the unopposed court roll.
- To set the divorce down on the unopposed roll, you should obtain a date from the Registrar. Usually the date is in a few weeks.
What about the Office of the Family Advocate?
If there are minor children involved, the Office of the Family Advocate would need to have a look at what provisions have been made regarding them in the Summons or Settlement Agreement. What happens in practice, is the Summons or Consent Paper is delivered to the Office of the Family Advocate. A Family Advocate would study it and endorse it if there are no concerns. If there are concerns, he or she would advise the Court thereof.
What happens at the divorce Court?
Should the divorce proceed uncontested, and set down correctly, you matter should be on the court roll. In the Western Cape High Court, divorces are dealt with closer to the end of the court roll.
When your matter is called up, you would be sworn in and provide evidence. You would have to deal with the following:
- That you are the Plaintiff and reside in the Western Cape.
- You were married to the defendant on a certain date and place.
- Show the original marriage certificate, or copy to the Court.
- Confirm that there are minor children born from the marriage.
- Tell the Court the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage and why it cannot be saved.
- Ask the court to grant a decree of divorce, and the terms stipulated in the Summons (more specifically, the Particulars of Claim) or the Consent Paper entered into.