Divorce Attorney Cape Town

In January divorces are on the increase




Divorces follow the seasons and divorce season is upon us.

It is a well-known fact that divorces in January and February dramatically increase. Spouses do not want to upset the apple cart over the holidays, and they need a peaceful Christmas or New Year’s. And then, because they do not want to spend another lost year with that spouse of theirs, as soon as the holidays are over they pull the plug and file for divorce.

While there are no specific reasons this can be related to the fact that people don’t want to interrupt their summer holiday so they wait until it is over before filing for divorce. Couples are also forced to spend more time together on holiday during which time they come to the conclusion that they are totally incompatible. Some people reach the New Year with the idea that they do not ever want to have to spend another Christmas with exactly the same group of family. Another reason may be that couples stay together until the children leave the house, a daughter may be getting married, so her parents wait until after her wedding to file for divorce.

These days people work often far too hard to make a living, so they do not see enough of each other to keep their relationships working as they should. Instead of talking to one another about their problems they ignore them until Christmas when they appear with a vengeance.

Worse of all is that Christmas is expensive, and couples argue more about money than about anything else so when the pricey presents start piling up the arguments increase. People often overspend on money during the festive season, and when there is a financial breakdown, often the whole marriage breaks down and comes to a halt.

The reality is that divorce makes financial problems even more worse. In marriage, every burden is generally shared but in divorce the burdens are double, not just emotionally, but also financially. One house usually becomes two houses, one electricity bill, two electricity bills and two lifestyles to deal with so when a marriage breaks down everyone usually has to suffer.

If you are considering divorce, here are some tips to consider:

Can your marriage be saved? Divorce can be expensive and will have an emotional toll for you and your children that can last for many years. You must ask yourself if you have done everything possible to avoid divorce. If there is the slightest chance to reconcile counselling should be considered.

Have a plan. Become familiar with our divorce laws and your marital regime. The latter will be crucial when there are assets to be divided. When there are children involved make sure that the decisions that you take is in their best interests. Remember that a child needs the involvement of both parents post-divorce, so for the sake of your children act like adults. It is not always the divorce that is detrimental but the conflict in the divorce.

Build a support network, remember that divorce is also hard on those close to you your family and friends.

Save, divorce is not cheap. Besides legal fees, you will also need extra cash to create a new household. In addition, you should expect disagreements with your spouse about who pays what. Talk to your attorney about a temporary maintenance application (pending finalization of the divorce) and an application for a contribution to your legal expenses. Many spouses are unaware of the chance to obtain a court order against the other spouse for a contribution to his/her legal costs.

Protect your safety. Filing for a divorce may unleash angry and potentially violent feelings and reactions. Before you do file for divorce, think about how your spouse may react, and consider obtaining a restraining order if there is a history of violence in your family.

Put your children first. It is critical to reassure them that they are not at fault. It is also important that both parents tell the children that they are loved, as angry as you might be, it is imperative not to belittle your spouse in front of your children.

Get your documents in order. Before you do file for divorce, get all important documents in order, make copies and start your own file. You should know the status of all accounts, assets and liabilities, the balances of current and savings accounts, debts, the sources and the amount of income entering the home each month as well as the monthly expenses.

Bertus Preller

Family Law Attorney

Abrahams and Gross Inc. – Cape Town – 021 422 1323

Follow him on Twitter: @bertuspreller

Web: www.divorceattorney.co.za

One thought on “In January divorces are on the increase”

  1. Spot on Bertus.

    A little off subject, but when will South African Law start to recognize PAS, (Parental Alienation Syndrome), for the huge problem it is?

    I read that the end of year holiday season also sees a big spike in child abduction, in fact I think you wrote an article on the problem?

    I find that to mention it by it’s name, only draws a blank stare, certainly from your average social worker, or the average volunteer trauma counselor, that may be one of the first points of contact after a domestic violence incident.

    A person would be far better off using the word “blackmailed” or “poisoned my child’s mind”, unless you want to be vilified for “labeling” your partner.

    It seems to me the majority of the social Justice system have no concept of PAS whatsoever, even although they deal with it every day. They are either ignorant or possibly in denial, perhaps (I would prefer to think), it’s due to insufficient resources and a lack of education?

    Nonetheless, it tells me that thousands of people, more especially children are victims of something they don’t realize has a name, and does indeed exist as a well documented problem internationally.

    PAS is not only the domain of a parent, I find that often an entire extended family, grandparents as well as brothers and sisters in law, are involved.

    They have no concept of the harm they are causing a child by forcing or manipulating him or her to shun the target parent.

    A typically harmful comment could be “sorry, I can’t buy you an ice cream, I cant afford it because your Daddy / Mommy doesn’t love us anymore, they don’t give us enough money”

    Finally, in the absence of understanding it for what it is, will there ever be a chance for the targeted parent to claim civil damages in the same way that one is allowed to claim for “alienated affection” when adultery occurs, is there a precedent or any case history in South Africa to support such a claim?

    Thank you for your article, and your effort at always bringing the focus back to where it rightfully belongs, namely the best needs of the child.

    Until the message gets through, “suffer the little children” will be the daily reality of thousands of kids.

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