The general perception of divorce lawyers is not a good one, and we understand that it is just as easy for someone to have a bad experience as it is for them to have a good one.
Our knowledgeable and approachable law attorneys are by your side to guide you during your divorce, and try to ease your burden.
We know that you might be feeling a little bit nervous, but we want to help you through this by giving you a clear understanding of the process ahead of you.
Step number one is to simply make the call. We know that it can be a hard step, but it is necessary to set the process into motion and offer legal advice.
Your initial consultation, with Brookes Attorneys, is free. To help determine how to proceed, email email@example.com to arrange your session.
It is important to note, that although we are specialists in family law, we also specialise in a number of other practice areas and offer legal services such as labour law, property law and commercial law.
We will help you to draft the necessary documentation required to institute divorce proceedings, namely a Summons and Particulars of Claim.
What are a Summons and Particulars of Claim?
A Summons from divorce lawyers is essentially a legal document to inform the other party that a divorce has been filed. It also puts forward requests, addresses parental responsibilities, as well as arrangements relating to property.
When a Summons includes Particulars of Claim it is known as a combined Summons (combine Summons are necessary for divorce proceedings). The Particulars of Claim is added information that details the basis for the legal action.
Once we get the ball rolling, your Summons will be issued out of the High Court, issued to your spouse via the Sheriff.
The best possible outcome that you can hope for in step 4 is an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are very rare, but if your spouse does not contest, it means that your divorce will be quicker and more cost-effective.
Our team of divorce lawyers can assist you in uncontested divorces, to arrange a court date for you and attend court with you, to finalise the divorce and see the process out to its end.
It is important to note that court dates may vary, some couples can wait for over a year, depending how busy the courts are.
A contested divorce continues along the path to finding a resolution. This type of divorce means that the couple cannot agree upon how to divide their assets. If there are minors involved, the inability to settle on custody and maintenance arrangements could also be holding up the divorce.
If and when the settlement is ripe, both parties can sign a settlement agreement and parenting plan. If there is no resolution prior, settlement is always a possibility, between steps 7-10.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
In order to separate, a married couple must first come to an agreement on how to, among other things, divide assets. Provisions can be made for any changes made, provided that both parties agree to the changes. It is highly recommended that a divorce lawyer prepares these documents for you.
If your spouse intends to defend, they will send a “Notice of Intention to Defend”. This document needs to be prepared in accordance with the courts rules and procedures and provide an address to direct further correspondence regarding the divorce.
After you receive the intention to defend, it is your partner’s responsibility to submit a Plea and Counterclaim. Without these documents the only course of action you can take is to apply for default judgement. To apply for default judgement there is a certain amount of time that needs to pass by.
A Plea will include a statement of guilt or innocence and offers perspectives including facts and allegations of the defendant.
To accompany a Plea, the defendant will submit a counterclaim in response to your initial claim.
You will need to consult with your divorce lawyer to formulate your response to documentation received in step 7. If you disagree with the allegations set out in your spouse’s Counterclaim you can submit a plea of your own.
From Summons and Particulars of Claim to your response, is referred to as “pleadings”. From here, we can hopefully reach the pre-trial proceedings phase as soon as possible, which is one step closer to finalising your divorce.
Following the pleadings, both parties prepare for trial and enter into pre-trial proceedings. For many of you, we know that this may be your first divorce and court appearance, but we have helped many client’s get through this process as quickly and amicably as possible. We are dedicated to helping you achieve a fair outcome.
According to Stats SA data, in 2018, there were a total of 25 284 completed divorce forms. 52,3% of which were filed by women.
The data collected for 2018 shows a 0.4% decrease in the total number of divorces in South Africa, when compared to the previous period (2017).
The median age for both men and women going getting divorce was early to mid 40’s, with the age for women being 41 and men 45 years. Approximately 45% of these married couples did not reach their 10th wedding anniversary.
Statistics showed that the majority (56,6%) of these divorces affected children under the age of 18 (minors).
Divorce is not an easy thing to go through, there are lots of moving parts, external factors, and correct documentation and procedures involved.
With our law firm, you can get access to a knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer. Our team of specialist family lawyers will help you through these legal issues, with your family’s best interests at heart.