Steps Before a Divorce Trial in Court

NB: Some steps do not apply to other cases because each case is unique.

A couple has one year to complete all the steps leading up to a divorce trial. They can ask the judge to extend this deadline in special circumstances.

  • Motion to Start Divorce Procedure: This is the request for a divorce that cancan be written either by a spouse or a lawyer acting for the spouse.
  • Appearance: The spouse who receives a motion to start divorce proceedings must appear. This means officially notifying the other spouse and the court of an intention to do something in the divorce case.
  • Timetable: On the day the motion to start the divorce procedure is presented in court, the spouses have to make a list of the things to be done before the divorce trial and the deadline for each spouse to do these things. This is officially called a timetable.
  • Defence: If the spouse who receives the motion to start the divorce procedure does not agree with some of the things it says, he or she can write about this disagreement in a formal document. This document is called a “defence”. This spouse can also ask the court for certain things, such as support payments. These requests are called a cross demand.
  • Answer: A spouse who receives a defence and cross demand and does not agree with some things they say can reply in writing. This is called an answer.
  • Inscription and Other Documents: When the divorce file is complete, the spouse who asked for the divorce, or the spouse who filed a cross demand, must notify the court in writing and ask for a trial date. This is called inscription.

The following documents must be prepared during the ISNCRIPTION:

  • Declaration of Complete File: Each spouse must provide certain information to the other spouse and to the court in a document called a declaration of complete file. This declaration tells the other spouse what to expect at trial and confirms that the case is ready to be heard by a judge.
  • Declaration of Inscription on the Roll: This document repeats much of what the spouses said in their declaration of complete file.
  • A statement or form about the family patrimony: This statement would say that the spouses are not covered by the rules on family patrimony, that they have given up the right to a division of the family patrimony, or that the division is not challenged. If none of these three possibilies applies, the couple must file a form called a Calculating Statement of Family Patrimony.
  • A form called a Calculating Statement of Partnership of Acquests: This form calculates the value of the partnership of acquests before it is divided between the spouses.
  • Form II – Attestation in Respect of the Registration of Births: This document is necessary in divorce proceedings. It can be prepared at any time between the motion to start the divorce procedure and the inscription.

Documents That Can Be Prepared at Any Time During the Divorce Process

  • Motion for a Safeguard Order and Provisional Measures: This is a request to get a court decision on questions that cannot wait until the trial, such as child custody or child support.
  • Affidavit: This is a statement in writing that can be used to respond to the other spouse’s motion for a safeguard order and provisional measures or to an affidavit given as a reply.

Family Law

Family law is a diverse and dynamic area in South Africa and you need to make sure that you are dealing with a firm that can adapt to the diversities faced in our country. We believe that we have the expertise to cover all aspects relating to Family Law to ensure that you receive specialised advice to suit your individual requirements. 

We offer the following services in our Family Law Practice

Mediation process to reach a settlement agreement between parties.
Divorce Proceedings, opposed or unopposed.
Protection Orders in terms of the domestic violence act.
Winding up of Estates and Registration of Trusts

Trading Hours - Evander

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 - 17:00
Friday: 8:00 - 16:00
Saturday: 9:00 - 12:00
Sunday: Closed

Trading Hours - Pretoria

Monday - Thursday:  8:00 - 17:00
Friday: 8:00 - 16:00
Saturday: closed
Sunday: Closed

Trading Hours - Middelburg

Monday - Thursday:  8:00 - 17:00
Friday: 8:00 - 16:00
Saturday: closed
Sunday: Closed

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