South African divorce law now operates under a “no fault” system. This means the spouse wishing to dissolve the marriage may do so without having to prove that the other spouse is at fault. This is referred to as irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
However, divorce law used to be a lot more stringent in previous years. For one, parties of marriage could only be divorced under four different criterion.
- Incurable insanity
- Imprisonment of at least five years as a result of habitual criminality
Divorce law functioned under a “fault” system. This means, in divorce, it was assumed that one party of marriage overstepped or was at fault for the termination of the marriage. This is why divorce was perceived with such disgrace. It brought great embarrassment to the families and children of divorce.
However, divorce law has changed and one can now obtain a divorce on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. When filing for divorce on these grounds, means that there are no defences to stop the divorce from proceeding. However, if the court finds that there is a reasonable possibility for reconciliation, it may postpone the proceedings so that the married couple may attempt to find a resolution.
It should further be noted that this is not to say the spouse overstepping the sanctity of marriage will go unpunished. If a spouse is found to be committing adultery, or knowingly hurt the marriage, the court may impose the legal costs on the guilty party, and the fault may be considered when the division of assets are being managed. The court may, in part, or in whole, rule in favour of the innocent party.
However, divorce attorneys Johannesburg should be consulted when filling for divorce. A marriage can only be dissolved by decree of the court. As such legal assistance by a divorce attorney Johannesburg is necessary. Few people have a clear understanding of the grounds on which divorce can be obtained, which is why consulting a divorce attorney Johannesburg is a wise choice. The divorce attorney Johannesburg will explain that there are only two grounds for divorce.
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or
- Mental illness or continued unconsciousness of one of the spouses.
What circumstances are grounds for irretrievable breakdown of marriage?
- If the spouses have not lived together for a continued period of at least one year.
- Abuse towards he spouse or children.
- Habitual criminality.
- Drunkenness or drug addiction.
- Loss of love and affection between the spouses.
So, divorce is not based on fault, and it is of no matter who caused the marriage to end. But this does not mean that the court will not postpone a proceeding to enable the parties to possibly reconsider, or that an overstepping spouse may not bear consequences. As such, your divorce attorney Johannesburg will help you through the entire process.
Divorce is a lot easier achieved than it used to be. As such, it should be thought about very carefully. Your divorce attorney Johannesburg as well as the court should, at least to some degree, be satisfied that the marriage has reached a point beyond reconciliation. It is to date a very traumatic experience and should never be taken lightly. The law has realised that sometimes parties of marriage reach a point where love is lost and no reasonable solution can be met. It is favourable to be able to dissolve marriage should the particular situation call for it, in which case, a divorce attorney Johannesburg can assist with every step.
For further information on the Divorce Act/Law, you can consult a divorce attorney Johannesburg. It is wise to get a clear understanding of the law and procedure before moving forward with divorce.