This month the advice office discussed about legal rights and access to children after divorce or separation. Last week, Martha, the paralegal spent time talking to *Nancy about what she went through during the divorce, how she survived and what happened about the children. The divorce process in South Africa is relatively straightforward, yet the financial and emotional consequences can be profound, especially since most divorces are normally lodged in the High Court. The other harsh reality is that the High Courts in South Africa have overly burdened court rolls, and parties normally have to wait a long time for their divorce matter to go to trial when their divorce is contested.
What is a divorce?
A divorce happens after a husband and wife decide not to live together anymore and that they no longer want to be married to each other. It might sound simple, but it’s not easy for a husband and wife to decide to end a marriage. Often they spend a long time trying to solve problems before deciding to divorce.
The termination of a marriage by court judgment and a judicial decree is awarded declaring the marriage to be dissolved. It leaves both spouses free to marry again. Many states refer to it as Dissolution of Marriage.
What is Divorce law?
This practice area is a subset of Family Law and is dictated by state laws, statutes, rules, codes and common law. Therefore, the laws and procedures can vary greatly from state to state. Divorce Law includes the following topics and legal areas:
• Child Support: A determination of the monetary obligation parents have for their minor children. This also addresses medical and/or health insurance coverage, school expenses and the like.
• Child Custody and Visitation: Operating in the best interests of the child, it must be decided whether a child of divorce will reside full-time or part-time with each parent, visitation schedules, holiday schedules, parenting time, etc.
• Spousal Support/Alimony/Maintenance: Often one spouse will be required to provide monetary support to the other spouse for a finite period of time. Many factors are involved in determining the type of support that should be awarded, as well as the amount and the length of time it should be paid.
• Division of Property and Debt: Whether a state is a “community-property state” or an “equitable distribution state” is a large factor in determining what is marital property and what is separate property, and how property and debts will be distributed in a divorce proceeding. Other factors, such as spousal support and child support often come into play as well.
• Separation: State law varies on the recognition of legal separations, and how the topics above will be handled when a couple separates and/or when a divorce/dissolution is pending.
You may listen *Nancy’s story uploaded.
And for more information, please visit www.divorcelaws.co.za