Divorce Attorney Cape Town

Download Free Family Law eBooks

Bertus Preller & Associates Inc.

Bertus Preller has made a number of eBooks freely available for download by the general public on all aspects of Family Law, Divorce and Separation. eBooks that are currently available to be downloaded for free include the following:

  • Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Spousal and Child Maintenance
  • Marital Regimes – In Community of Property, Out of Community of Property, with or without accrual
  • Finances and Divorce
  • Emotions and Divorce
  • Harassement
  • Relocation and Child Abduction
  • Divorce and Retirement Funds
  • 60 Questions on Divorce

Further topics will follow soon.

To download these books, simply click on the download Banner below:


Brought to you by:

Maurice Phillips Wisenberg
20th Floor, 2 Long Street, Cape Town, 8000
Also consulting at:
Suite 102, 1st Floor, Big Bay Office Park, 16 Beach Estate Boulevard, Big Bay, Cape Town, 7441
Telephone: Cape Town Office: +27 21 419 7115, Big Bay Office: +27870735747
E-mail:  law(@)preller.co.za

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/divorceattorneys
Twitter: @bertuspreller

Latest Divorce Trends South Africa

divorce statistics

Divorce Trends in South Africa

According to the latest statistics issued by Stats SA there is a consistent decline in the number of people getting married in South Africa.

There has also been a decline in customary marriages, indicating a decrease of 12,5% from the previous year. Civil unions (Gay and Lesbian) registered in South Africa increased by 15,2%. These figures are indicative of the fact that less and less people are opting for marriage.

According to the latest data the crude divorce rate was 0,5 divorces per 1 000 estimated resident population. The number indicates an increase of 3,4% divorces from the previous year.

Reasons for Divorce

According to a survey on the Divorce Laws Website South Africans had stated that the following reasons were the main reasons for divorce:

  1. Lack of Communication 23.47%
  2. Adultery / Cheating 21.6%
  3. Abuse 11.99%
  4. Lack of Intimacy / Sex 10.86%
  5. Falling out of love 7.24%
  6. Finances 5.74%
  7. Addiction 4.87%
  8. Involvement of parents 3.37%
  9. Religious Differences 2.25%

Characteristics of plaintiffs

The website www.divorcelaws.co.za, South Africa’s premier resource on Divorce and Family Law attracted 465 420 unique visitors in South Africa during the period 1 August 2015 to 30 August 2016. It is interesting to note that over 60% of those visitors were female in comparison to 40% being male. Of these visitors 59.56% were from Gauteng, 21.70% were from the Western Cape, 11.29% were from KwaZulu-Natal, 3.15% were from the Eastern Cape, 1.17% were from the Free State, 1.12% were from North West, 0.98% were from Limpopo, 0.73% were from Mpumalanga and 0.25% were from the Northern Cape. Sandton, 20.59% seems to be the area from where most people requested information on divorce, maintenance, parental rights, custody, domestic violence and general family law, followed by Cape Town 20.56%, Pretoria 15.23%, Johannesburg 8.92%, Durban 6.91%, Centurion 3.01%, Roodepoort 2.84%, Port Elizabeth 1.85%, Krugersdorp 1.66% and Randburg 1.48%.

More wives 51,7% than husbands 34,4% initiated the divorce according to the latest data. With the exception of women from the black African population who had a lower proportion of plaintiffs 44,1%, the proportion of women plaintiffs from the other population groups was above 50,0%.

White population group 57,8%, coloured population group 56,9% and Indian/Asian population group 54,6% were women. However, it should also be noted that the black African population group had a much higher proportion of divorces with unspecified sex of the plaintiff 17,3%.

Population Groups

Couples from the white population group dominated the number of divorces until 2007 thereafter, the black African couples had the highest number of divorces up until 2014. In 2003, 40,0% of the divorcees were from the white population group whereas 24,3% came were from the black African population group. By 2014, 37,1% of the divorcees were from the black African population group and 28,2% from the white population group. The proportions of the divorcees from the coloured and the Indian/Asian population groups were quite constant during the twelve-year period. However, there was a prominent increase in the proportions of divorcees from the coloured population group (from 16,3% in 2013 to 20,2% in 2014) which may have affected the result. Generally, there was an increase in the proportion of divorces for black Africans and decline for white population group from 2003 to 2014.

Occupation of Plaintiffs

It is noted that a high proportion of the plaintiffs 28,2% of the men and 30,9% of the women did not indicate the type of occupation they were engaged in at the time of divorce. In addition, 15,2% and 22,1% of the men and women respectively were not economically active at the time of divorce.


Most plaintiffs were:

  • professional, semi-professionals and technical occupations 12,0%;
  • managers and administrators 9,3%; and
  • 9,2% in clerical and sales occupations.

Some differences were observed regarding the type of occupation of men and women. The men who initiated the divorce were largely managers and administrators 14,5% while the women were mainly in professional, semi-professionals and technical occupations 14,3%.

Number of times married

Results presented that divorce cases for both men and women were mainly from individuals who had married once. About 80,0% of divorces for men and women were from first-time marriages compared to 12,4% of men and 10,9% of women from second-time marriages. Around 2,0% of men and women were getting divorced for at least the third time.

Age at the time of divorce

The median ages at divorce were 43 years for men and 40 years for women, indicating that generally, men were older than women, with a difference of about three years. The pattern of median ages in 2014 by population group shows that black African and white men had the highest median age of 44 years while women from the other population group had the lowest median age 33 years. The difference in the median ages at the time of divorce for men and women was higher among the other population group (ten years) than among black African, coloured, Indian/Asian and white population groups. Although there were differences in the ages at which most men and women from the various population groups divorced, the age patterns were quite similar. The data revealed that there were fewer divorces among the younger less than 25 years old and the older (65 years and older) divorcees. For men, the peak age group at divorce was 40 to 44 for all population groups. In the case of women, the peak age group for coloured and white population groups was 40 to 44 and the black African and Indian/Asian was 35 to 39.

Duration of marriage of divorcing couples

Statistics from the annual divorce data do not give a comprehensive picture of the number of marriages ending in divorce. The largest number 27,3% of the divorces were for marriages that lasted between five and nine years. This group is followed by marriages that lasted between ten and fourteen years 18,7% and marriages that lasted for less than five years 18,4%. Thus 45,7% of the 24 689 divorces in 2014 were marriages that lasted for less than 10 years. According to results irrespective of the population group, the highest proportion of divorces occurred to couples who had been married for five to nine years. Thus 32,6% of divorces from the black African; 25,6% from both coloured and white; 24,4% from the Indian/Asian population groups were marriages that lasted between five and nine years. For the white population an equally high proportion 23,7% of divorces occurred in the first five years. Furthermore, for all population groups, after nine years of marriage, the proportion of divorces declined as the duration of marriage increased.

Divorces involving couples with minor children

In 2014, 13 676 55,4% of the 24 689 divorces had children younger than 18 years. The coloured and the white population groups had the highest 64,9 and the lowest 46,2% percentages respectively. The distribution of the number of children affected by divorce shows that 39,1% were from the black African population group; 24,9% from the coloured population group; 23,3% from the white population group and 5,6% from the Indian/Asian population group.

Source: http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2016/09/latest-divorce-trends-south-africa/


Book review on Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation

Deur Jaco Barnard-Naudé is professor in regsfilosofie aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad.


Ons leef vandag in ‘n wêreld van toenemende vloeibaarheid en pluraliteit op die vlak van persoonlike verhoudings. Die een dag besluit jy en jou beste vriend nog om lewenskoste te beperk deur ‘n woonstel te deel en die volgende dag word die platoniese vriendskap iets meer en julle woon voortaan saam as man en vrou. Of man en man. ‘n Paar jaar later besluit julle om te trou. As julle ‘n eendersgeslagtelike verhouding bedryf, moet julle deur die hekke van die Wet op Burgerlike Verbintenisse, 2006, toegang verkry tot die twyfelagtige groener gras van die huwelik. Heteroseksuele saamwoners het ‘n addisionele (en meer konvensionele) wet beskikbaar waarvolgens hulle in die huwelik kan tree – die Huwelikswet van die Jaar van Onse Heer 1961. As julle byvoorbeeld in Tamboerskloof saamwoon en besluit die huwelik is nie wat julle en ander eende van julle dam wil hê nie, hoef julle nie te trou om die verbintenis regtens erken te kry nie: die 2006-Wet maak voorsiening vir ‘n burgerlike vennootskap wat presies dieselfde gevolge as ‘n huwelik het.

Ek het al hierdie dinge geweet voordat ek hierdie uiters leesbare en akkurate boek onder die oë gehad het, omdat ek vir ‘n regsfakulteit werk en self betrokke was by die totstandkoming van die 2006-Wet. Vir diegene wat tans in ‘n saamwonery van een of ander aard verkeer, dit oorweeg om een of ander Groot Stap (insluitend skeiding van tafel en bed) te doen en nié in die regsberoep werk of betroubare vriende daarin (skaars spesie) het nie, kan ekEveryone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation aanbeveel.

Die titel is ondeurdag. Hoewel die regstema van geregtelike skeiding prominent daarin bespreek word, soos die titel aandui, handel groot gedeeltes daarvan oor die regsgevolge van die totstandkoming van ‘n huwelik of ander permanente saamwoonverhouding. Selfs die gevolge van die totstandkoming van die ouwêreldse “verlowing” (en wat die lô sê oor die verloofring wanneer jy dit in sy gesig terugsmyt) word met erns bespreek. En as lobola deel was van jou huweliksonderhandelinge en jy is getroud ingevolge die Wet op Erkenning van Gewoonteregtelike Huwelike, sal jy interessante dinge lees oor hoe om te verhoed dat jou man se aanhoudende trouery jou nie finansieel benadeel nie.

‘n Groot gedeelte van die boek handel oor die onwillekeurige partye tot ‘n saamwoonverhouding: die kinders. Daar is ‘n omvattende bespreking van wat die verantwoordelikhede teenoor kinders in ‘n gesin is – veral wanneer die ouers se saamwoonverhouding tot ‘n einde kom en ook in gevalle waar Ma en Pa eens saamgewoon, of ten minste saam verkeer, het, maar by geboorte van die kind reeds aanbeweeg het. Die boek stel dit in hierdie konteks direk en duidelik: die kind(ers) sit met die gebakte pere van julle mislukte verhouding sonder dat hulle daarvoor gevra het. Die allerminste wat julle kan doen, is alles in julle vermoë ten einde te verseker dat hulle so onbeskadig as moontlik uit die puin van julle verhouding tree.

Bostaande is maar een rede waarom die skrywer (‘n prokureur) daarvoor pleit dat egskeidings nie in litigasie behoort te eindig nie. Daar is merendeels slegs verloorders in ‘n bestrede egskeiding, en té dikwels, waar kinders betrokke is, is dit húlle wat as pionne in die vuilspel gebruik word en die meeste verloor.

Benewens ‘n omvattende verduideliking van die egskeidingsproses bevat die boek ook heelwat praktiese wenke vir mense wat deur so ‘n proses moet gaan (waartydens gesinsgeweld nie uitgesluit word nie, daarom die hoofstuk oor laasgenoemde). Dit het my lank geneem om die bul by die horings te pak en hierdie boek te lees, want egskeiding is nooit ‘n aangename onderwerp om oor te dink of te lees nie – ons dink veel eerder aan die feeste van die huweliksdag. Maar as jy jou in ‘n skeidingsituasie bevind (en nie in die regsberoep werk of daarin bevriend is nie), moet jy jou, soos vir enige stryd, hoe gemoedelik ook al, bewapen. En Preller se boek is ‘n sterk wapen. Kry dit.

divorce and separation



Original article at: http://www.litnet.co.za/Article/2013-everyones-guide-to-divorce-and-separation-bertus-preller

Trauma van teister: Só trek jy die streep Die Wet op Teistering, Wet 17 van 2011


Die Artikel het in Vrouekeur in September 2013 verskyn

“Ek gaan jou doodmaak”

‘n Harde stem wat oor die foon gil: “Jy is ‘n slet!”

“Mamma wat is ‘n slot?” wou haar klein seuntjie weet.

Die einde van 2011 was ‘n vreesbevange tydperk vir Suzette Malherbe* van Natal nadat sy aan ‘n gesprek op radio deelgeneem het.

Iemand wat haar op ‘n program hoor gesels het, het al haar nommers opgesoek en haar vreemde tye van die dag, van verskillende nommers en selfs in die oggendure, soos 3:00 die nag gebel. Die persoon het ook Facebook en smsse ingespan om haar te teister.

“Ek gesels gereeld oor die radio en vertel van God. Die praatjie waarna die teisteraar verwys het, wanneer hy bel, was juis hieroor. Hy het gesê hy het my op die radio gehoor. Hierdie was heel in die begin van my publieke lewe, so dit was baie scary. Terwyl dit gebeur het was ek absoluut in skok. As enkelmamma was ek vreeslik besorg oor my dogtertjie gedurende hierdie tyd. Ek het bly hoop dit sal ophou. Die fout wat ek gemaak het was om met die persoon te kommunikeer en reaksie te wys.Gelukkig het die teistering opgehou toe ek ophou reaksie gee. Ek het glad nie my foon geantwoord as ek gesien het dit is ‘n onbekende nommer nie en ek is van Facebook af vir ‘n tyd. Wanneer iemand jou teister, moenie met die persoon kommunikeer nie. Ek het baie geleer, soos om my foon op “silent” te sit deur die aand, asook nie sommer vreemde nommers te antwoord nie”.

Emosioneel is dit baie uitmergelend.

“Ek was vreesbevange daardie tyd. Veral oor die persoon dreigend was. Ek glo dat wanneer iemand jou probeer intimideer en teister die doel daarvan is om jou stil en of bang te maak. Deur uit te praat en standpunt in te neem wys jy aan die persoon dat dit nie die gewensde reaksie het nie. Nà die insident het ek en my dogtertjie na ‘n sekuriteitskompleks getrek. Ek is ook baie meer bewus van ons persoonlike sekuriteit asook om nie vreemde nommers te antwoord nie”.

Die teistering het Suzette se werk ook beïnvloed, want die foon het enige tyd van die dag of nag, tuis of by die werk gelui.  

“Die persoon was baie irrasioneel. Hy sou dreigende Facebookboodskappe stuur soos: “God het vir my gesê ek moet jou doodmaak” of “ek maak net seker jy lewe nog”. Aanvanklik was ek baie ontsteld en wou weet wie dit is en hoekom hy my lewe so versuur. My raad aan ander mense in dieselfde bootjie sal wees om so vinnig moontlik hulp te soek. Moenie dat die persoon enigsins jou lewe versuur nie. Daar is grense en sulke mense verbreek emosionele en soms fisiese grense ook as daar nie vinnig genoeg iets hieromtrent gedoen word nie.

Niemand het die reg om ‘n ander persoon so disrespekvol te hanteer nie. Deur op te staan vir jouself en jou gesin teen iemand wat jou lewe versuur deur te teister, doen jy die regte ding. Deur stil te bly, is dit asof jy toestemming aan die persoon gee om dit aan te hou doen”.

Bertus Preller is ‘n Kaapse egskeidingsprokureur. Hy het meer as 21 jaar ervaring in wetlike aspekte en praktiseer in Kaapstad. Hy spesialiseer in familie- en egskeidingsreg en is ook die skrywer van “Everyone’s Guide To Divorce and Separation” van Zebra Press Uitgewers.

Hy help hier om die Wet op Teistering, Wet 17 van 2011 aan Vrouekeurlesers te verduidelik:

Hoe werk die wet op die beskerming van teistering?

Die nuwe Wet op Teistering, wat 2011 in werking gestel is, poog om slagoffers van teistering, ook seksuele teistering te beskerm as deel van die reg van enige Suid-Afrikaner om hul lewe vry van enige vorm van geweld deur openbare asook private bronne te lei.

Die implikasie hiervan is dat mense nie meer ‘n anonieme SMS met een of ander seksuele ondertoon kan aanstuur nie. Selfs ‘n skoolboelie kan homself nou blootstel aan regstappe teen hom. 

Wanneer teister ‘n persoon iemand anders? Wanneer is iemand net irriterend en wanneer gaan dit oor in teistering?

Teistering kan die vorm aanneem van briewe, epos, smsse en Facebookboodskappe. Die wet bepaal dat enigiemand wat voel hul word op dié wyse geteister, met of sonder ‘n regsverteenwoordiger, kan aansoek doen om ‘n beskermingsbevel by sy of haar plaaslike hof.

Die hoofdoel van dié wetgewing is: “om slagoffers van teistering doeltreffend te beskerm teen gedrag wat neerkom op teistering”.

Die teisterwet kan ook ‘n toevoeging wees tot die Huishoudelike geweldwet, wat hom beywer vir ‘n afname in die wydverspreide mishandeling van vroue, kinders en mense met gestremdhede.

Watter tipes leed word aangerig? Byvoorbeeld geestelike, psigologiese of fisiese leed of ekonomiese skade?

Volgens dié wet word die volgende as teistering beskou:

Om iemand direk of indirek by gedrag te betrek wat die ander persoon skade aandoen of die ander persoon laat glo dat hy of sy sal skade gaan ly. Dit kan gedoen word deur hulle te agtervolg, dop te hou, aanhoudend te probeer kontak maak met die slagoffer of sy/haar familie. Dit sluit ook in om by of naby die persoon se huis of werk of plek waar hulle studeer leeg te lê of rond te hang.

Teistering kan ook plaasvind wanneer iemand briewe, pakkies, telegramme, fakse, epos of onwelkome geskenke vir die ander party stuur. Dit sluit ook in dat iemand boodskappe of pakkies los waar hulle weet die slagoffer gaan dit vind of daarvan te wete kom.

Seksuele teistering kan plaasvind wanneer iemand onwelkome seksuele aandag van ‘n persoon ontvang as die persoon wat dit uitdeel wéét dat die aandag onwelkom is. Dit sluit ook eksplisiete sowel as implisiete onwelvoeglike gedrag in. Ander maniere van seksuele teistering is seksuele voorstelle of boodskappe of aanmerkings met ‘n seksuele ondertoon wanneer die persoon wat dit sê sou kon voorsien dat die ontvang hierdeur geïntimideer, in die gesit gevat of verneder sal voel.

Seksuele teistering kan ook plaasvind as iemand ‘n beloning of belofte impliseer vir enige gedrag wat verband hou met ‘n seksueel georiënteerde versoek. Of wanneer daar ‘n direkte of indirekte bedreiging of weerhouding van voorregte gekoppel word aan die weiering om mee te doen aan ‘n seksueel georiënteerde versoek.

Teen watter tipes skade beskerm die Wet op Teistering mense?

Slagoffers wat geteister word kan psigiese, fisiese en psigologiese skade ly of ekonomies seerkry.

Enigeen wat glo hulle word deur ‘n ander persoon geteister mag volgens hierdie wetgewing aansoek doen om ‘n beskermingsbevel. ‘n Kind jonger as agtien of enige ander persoon mag ter wille van ‘n kind aansoek doen om ‘n beskermingsbevel sonder die bystand of toestemming van die kind se ouers.

Wanneer iemand nie in die posisie is om self aansoek om so ‘n bevel te doen nie, mag enige persoon wat die slagoffer se belange op die hart dra en die teistering wil stop aansoek doen om ‘n beskermingsbevel in belang van die persoon wat geteister word.

Anders as wat baie mense dink, hoef die persoon wat geteister word nie noodwendig in ‘n verhouding met die teisteraar te wees of gewees het om aansoek te doen vir ‘n beskermingsbevel nie.

“Ek kry teister-epos, wat moet ek doen?”

As iemand jou elektronies teister en jy weet nie wie dit is nie, kan die hof deur middel van die Wet op Teistering gelas dat die teisteraar se elektroniese besonderhede bekend gemaak word. Ondersoeke by die diensverskaffers of deur die polisie kan gelas word om vas te stel wie die teisteraar is.  

Wat sal gebeur wanneer ek ‘n teisteraar aankla?

Volgens die Wet op teistering word daar, indien daar genoegsame bewys van teistering en gepaardgaande skade  is, ‘n tydelike-hofbevel uitgereik, sonder dat die teisteraar betrek word, gebasseer op die klaer se kant van die storie. Die hof stel dan ‘n datum vas sodat die persoon teen wie die bevel uitgereik is in die hof kan verskyn om die aansoek teë te staan, voordat dit ‘n finale hofbevel word.

Die hof het die mag om ‘n tydelike hofbevel finaal te maak deur ‘n persoon te verbied om enige kontak, ook met die hulp van ‘n tweede of derde party, met die klaer te maak. In praktyk beteken dit dat ‘n beskermingsbevel aangepas word by die behoeftes van die klaer en sy of haar spesifieke situasie. Daar mag in sekere gevalle selfs ‘n lasbrief vir in hegtenisname deur die hof aan die teisteraar uitgereik word.

Wat kan die hof doen as die teisteraar die beskermingsbevel minag?

As ‘n persoon enige beperkings, voorwaardes of verantwoordelikheid wat verband hou met die beskermingsbevel verontagsaam of vals verklarings aflê, stel hy of sy hulle bloot aan vervolging. So ‘n persoon kan beboet word of tronkstraf, tot en met vyf jaar lank,  ontvang.

‘n Hof mag as deel van ‘n beskermingsbevel ‘n tydelike bevel uitreik om die klaer te beskerm teen enige verdere teistering, te keer dat die teisteraar met behulp van ander persone aanhou om die klaer te teister en om die teisteraar te keer om enige van die ander oortredings wat in die beskermingsbevel uiteengesit is te begaan tot tyd en wyl die hof sy finale beslissing gelewer het.

Die hof kan ook toevoegings en voorwaardes by die tydelike bevel voeg om te verseker dat die klaer veilig en beskermd is van enige teistering deur die aangeklaagde of enigeen wat die aangeklaagde help om die klaer te teister.

As deel hiervan mag die hof gelas dat ‘n lid van die Suid-Afrikaanse polisiediens enige wapen in besit of bereik van die teisteraar konfiskeer in terme van die vuurwapenwet.

Die fisiese tuis- en werkadres van die aangeklaagde persoon mag nie deel uitmaak van die beskermingsbevel nie, tensy dit genoodsaak word deur die situasie. Die hof mag ook gelas dat die klaer se adres of blyplek nie bekend gemaak word nie, ten einde die klaer se veiligheid te verseker.

Die hof mag nie weier om ‘n beskermingsbevel uit te reik nie, tensy die aangeklaagde klaar of in die proses is om self ‘n klag van agtervolging teen die klaer te lê in terme van die huishoudelike geweld wet.

Waar kan ek hulp kry?

Wanneer jy geteister word en ‘n klag wil lê kan jy aansoek doen by enige magistraathof waar jy bly of werk of by die hof waar die teisteraar bly of werk of by die fisiese plek waar die teistering plaasgevind het.








Divorce Attorney Bertus Preller Consults in Johannesburg

Family Law and Divorce Law Attorney Bertus Preller
Family Law and Divorce Law Attorney Bertus Preller

Bertus Preller  a Family, Divorce Law Attorney, Mediator at Maurice Phillips Wisenberg in Cape Town, is now consulting on a weekly basis in Sandton Johannesburg. He has nearly 25 years of experience as an attorney and specializes in Family Law and Divorce Law cases across South Africa. Bertus is the author of Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation, published by Random House. He has also been quoted on Family Law issues in various newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times and magazines such as Noseweek, Keur, Living and Loving, Longevity, Woman and Home, Women’s Health, You, Huisgenoot and Fairlady and also appeared on the SABC television show, 3 Talk, Morning Live and on the 5FM Breakfast show with Gareth Cliff. His clients include artists, celebrities, sports people and high net worth individuals.

His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, child abduction and Hague Convention cases and domestic violence matters and international divorce law. He will consult in Sandton every Wednesday.

To contact Bertus for an appointment:

+27 21 419 7115

Maurice Phillips Wisenberg ey.co.za

Web: http://www.divorceattorney.co.za

Twitter: @bertuspreller

Cape Town Attorney Bertus Preller writes South Africa’s first book on Divorce and Separation for the general public

Everyone's Guide to Divorce and Separation - Kindle Version
Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation – Kindle Version

Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DIVORCE AND SEPARATION …With one in three marriages now ending in divorce, it is imperative to be informed of the pitfalls, challenges and legal aspects involved in divorce and separation. Other rules and laws may apply to the many couples who prefer to cohabit rather than get married, but they, too, need to be informed of their rights when the relationship breaks down.

Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation will help with the following crucial aspects:  your rights when you get divorced, and the monetary aspects relating to divorce (including the consequences relating to assets and the divisions thereof); maintenance issues;  all factors regarding the children, including how to implement a parenting plan, how much child maintenance will likely be required, and how to file for maintenance and child support;  the procedures to obtain a protection order when there is domestic violence or abuse; an unmarried father’s rights and how to acquire parental rights; and the law on cohabitation, same-sex marriages, and how to draft a proper cohabitation agreement. 

Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation will prove to be an indispensable and comprehensive guide at a time when everyone needs expert guidance the most.

In the Foreword of the book, Judge Denis Davis says the following:

“Bertus Preller has filled a very significant gap with this timely book, in that in plain language, he provides a comprehensive guide to the broader community through the thicket of law that now characterises this legal landscape. Having said that, many lawyers, particularly those who do not specialise in the field, will also find great assistance in this work.

From engagement, through the legal nature of the ceremony, to the legal consequences of marriage or civil union and on to divorce with all its complex consequences, the reader will find clear explanations for any or all issues which may vex him/her during this journey.

Early on in the text, Mr Preller makes a vital point – litigation is truly the option of last resort in the event of a matrimonial dispute. The adversarial process which is the manner in which law operates is not at all conducive to a settlement of issues, particularly custody of minor children, which have a long-lasting and vital impact on the lives, not only of the antagonists but also the children who have not, in any way, caused the problem giving rise to the forensic battle.

Often in my experience on the Bench, I have wondered how such vicious and counter productive litigation can be allowed to continue. Lawyers will point to clients, whose disappointment in the breakdown of the marriage now powers such adverse feelings to their erstwhile partner, as the core reason for the ‘legal fight to the finish’. I would hope that, in all such or potential cases, the parties consult this work, which may add some rationality to the process or, in the occasional case, will enable the parties to reassess the legal advice they have been given, thereby allowing a non-litigious settlement of proceedings.

Whatever the context, however, it is important that arcane and often incomprehensible legal jargon be made accessible to those affected by the law. In this way, ordinary citizens can ensure that their rights work for them and at the same time they are assisted to grasp fully the implications of the obligations that the law imposes upon them.

In providing such a gateway to those who are or may be affected by this area of law, which given its nature is the vast majority of the country, Mr Preller has made a significant contribution to ensuring that, in this area, access to justice will become a reality.

– Judge Dennis Davis”

The book will be on the shelves of all major book stores on 1 May 2013 and may be pre-ordered on Amazon.com

Domestic Violence and Abuse in South Africa

“When you’re in a broken family and your role model is a violent male, boys grow up believing that’s the way they’re supposed to act. And girls think that’s an accepted way men will treat them.” –Rep. Jim Costa

On 25 November 2012 the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children commenced and will end on 10 December 2012. It is an international campaign and takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). During this time, the South African Government runs a 16 Days of Activism Campaign to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse. It is estimated that one in every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every week, that one adult woman out of every six is assaulted by her partner, and that in at least 46% of these cases, the men involved also abuse the woman’s children.

It is extremely important to increase awareness of abuse and build support for victims and survivors of abuse. South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world. And, sadly, domestic violence is the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. Every day, women are murdered, physically and sexually assaulted, threatened, and humiliated by their partners, within their own homes. Organisations estimate that one out of every six women in South Africa is regularly assaulted by her partner. More than 56 000 rapes and sexual offences were reported in South Africa in the 2010 financial year. This equates to 154 reported sexual offences each day. It is conservatively estimated that only one in ten sexual offences are reported, due to a lack of faith in the system. In 2010, most incidents of assault 35,7%, occurred at home. 29,8% of sexual offences took place at home and 18,5% of sexual offences took place at someone else’s home. The available data also indicates that incidents of domestic violence, in which especially women are victims, are increasing. A recent survey conducted in Gauteng found that half the women living in Gauteng 51.3% have experienced abuse or violence, and 75.5% of men admitted to perpetrating abuse or violence against women. The same study found that one in four women had experienced sexual violence, and 37.4% of men disclosed perpetrating sexual violence

According to Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) statistics last year, up to 65% of police stations were not compliant with the Domestic Violence Act, which means that they were not providing the necessary support to victims of domestic violence and 53% of domestic violence victims were incorrectly told they were not allowed to lay a charge after being abused and 96% of domestic violence victims were not given information on their rights, such as having the right to apply for a Protection Order when they go to their local police station. It is inconceivable that a woman who has had to endure the trauma of being abused by a family member or partner is subjected to the indignity of having their case poorly managed by the police.

Although the exact percentages are in dispute, there is a large amount of cross-cultural evidence that women are subjected to domestic violence significantly more often than men. In addition, there is consensus that women are more often subjected to severe forms of abuse and are more likely to be injured by an abusive partner. Determining how many instances of domestic violence actually involve male victims is difficult. Some studies have shown that women who assaulted their male partners were more likely to avoid arrest even when the male victim contacts the police. Another study concluded that female perpetrators are viewed by law enforcement as victims rather than the actual offenders of violence against men. Other studies have also demonstrated a high degree of acceptance of aggression against men by women. Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships. Gay and lesbian relationships have been identified as a risk factor for abuse in certain populations. Historically, domestic violence has been seen as a family issue and little interest has been directed at violence in same-sex relationships.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour that transgresses the right of citizens to be free from violence. When one partner in a relationship harms the other to obtain or maintain power and control over them, regardless of whether they are married or unmarried, living together or apart, that is domestic violence. The ‘harm’ can take a variety of forms, whether it be from verbal abuse like shouting, emotional abuse like manipulation, control and/or humiliation, physical abuse like hitting and/or punching, and/or sexual abuse like rape and/or inappropriate touching of either the woman or her children.

The majority of adult victims are women. The victims and survivors are not more likely to belong to any particular racial, cultural or language groups. The majority of perpetrators are male and usually live with the victim at the time of the abuse. There is an important association between the propensity to domestic violence and drug and alcohol use.

What can you do if you are abused?

Domestic violence is regulated by the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998. The Act was introduced in 1998 with the purpose of affording women protection from domestic violence by creating obligations on law enforcement bodies, such as the South African Police Services, to protect victims as far as possible. The Act attempts to provide victims of domestic violence with an accessible legal instrument with which to prevent further abuses taking place within their domestic relationships. The Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious crime against our society, and extends the definition of domestic violence to include not only married women and their children, but also unmarried women who are involved in relationships or living with their partners, people in same-sex relationships, mothers and their sons, and other people who share a living space.

A protection order, also called a restraining order or domestic violence interdict is a court order which tells an abuser to stop the abuse and sets certain conditions preventing the abuser from harassing or abusing you again. It may also help ensure that the abuser continue to pay rent or a bond or interim maintenance.  The protection order may also prevent the person from getting help from any other person to commit such acts. Victims may also file a criminal charge in addition to obtaining a protection order and get a court order to have the perpetrator’s gun removed, if applicable. Other remedies may also be available, depending on the exact nature of the abuse.

A restraining order can be applied for at your local magistrate’s court.

Important Numbers:

Women Abuse Helpline:  0800 150 150

Childline:    0800 055 555

SAPS Crime Stop:   08600 10111

Bertus Preller

Family Law Attorney

Twitter: @bertuspreller

Email: bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

Tel:  021 422 1323

Source: http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2012/11/abuse-and-domestic-violence-south-africa/ 

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