Different Types of Divorce in South Africa

By webadmin

It has been said that divorce is possibly as painful as death. It may not always be as painful as that but it remains one of the most stressful experiences one may go through. It impacts people mentally, emotionally and physically. There are essentially three different ways to get a divorce in SA. An uncontested divorce, mediated divorce, and contested divorce. These types of divorce impact people profoundly in a few ways. Here is what you need to know about the different types of divorce in South Africa to try to eliminate as much pressure as possible.

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The longer and more contentious the divorce process, the more emotional and mental strain on the family. An uncontested divorce is the quickest and least expensive option. The divorce proceedings may be finalised in a matter of weeks. The spouses work together to agree on divorce terms such as how children will be cared for and how assets will be divided between them. An impartial attorney can be appointed to take care of the interests of both and draft an official settlement agreement.


Mediated divorces cost more and take longer, which means a higher level of emotional strain on the family. This type of divorce is used when spouses are unable to agree on a settlement. An outside attorney is then used as a mediator to help them negotiate and reach an agreement. The mediator is usually appointed by the attorney who provides legal advice during mediation. The mediator helps couples reach a reasonable settlement by helping them put short-term differences aside. Once the mediator has helped the spouses come to an agreement, the attorney drafts an official settlement agreement, which is made an order of the court once signed by both parties. Mediation reduces the time of contested divorces which can often take three months.


Contested divorces can drag on for three years or longer, which causes the most harm on the family both emotionally and financially. This is the type of divorce where spouses cannot agree on the terms and conditions of their divorce. The areas of contention are usually around the allocation of assets, maintenance and child care. In this case, the couple will need to appear in court several times so that the court can decide on the terms of their divorce. This means that the cost of the divorce is a lot higher than uncontested and mediated divorce.

Lise-Mari van Heerden of PBK Attorneys is committed to working with you to ensure a smooth and speedy divorce as far as it is possible.