Contested vs Uncontested Divorces in South Africa
Before mediation, and when divorces were typically a me-versus-you affair, divorces could be spread out over years, as couples battled it out in court over assets, child custody, maintenance and whatever else was on the list of disputes between them… business shares, pension funds and so on.
Naturally, and as you would expect, the South African Divorce Court backlog grew, often leading to some divorces taking two years or longer to be finalised. Divorces taking this long would have numerous effects on those involved, from incurring substantial legal costs and time spent in court, to emotional trauma and ruined relationships. And the effect on the children involved could be far worse.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested Divorces are cases where divorcing parties are able to come to an agreement prior to submitting their documentation with the court, having agreed on how to divide up the marital property (Divorce Settlement Agreement), time shared with the children, maintenance to be paid (Maintenance Agreement) and principles on how the children will be raised (Parenting Plan).
This type of divorce is processed much faster (can be finalised in as little as four weeks from the date of filing with the court) and cost a fraction of both the time spent in court and the legal fees one would incur when litigating (having a trial in court). With an Uncontested Divorce, there is no trial, just a hearing date where the Magistrate will approve the divorce and issue a Decree of Divorce – barring that the Office of the Family Advocate has approved the Parenting Plan if one accompanies the Divorce Settlement Agreement.
United Outcome Mediations can help you and your partner reach an agreement through Mediation, rather than litigation, and save you substantial amounts of time and money, allowing you to move forward with your life and begin the healing process.
Contact us should you wish to set up a free consultation.