Divorce Attorney Cape Town

Latest Divorce Statics South Africa


Divorce Stats

The 2015 divorce data reported were based on 25 260 completed divorce forms that Stats SA received and processed by the end of December 2016.

In 2015, 25 260 completed divorce forms were processed indicating an increase of 2,3% processed in 2014. There were more female than male plaintiffs. The median ages at divorce in 2015 were 44 years for men and 40 years for women. About 45,4% of the 2015 divorces came from marriages that lasted less than 10 years. In 2015, there were 14 045 (55,6%) divorces with children aged less than 18 years affected. Couples from the white population group dominated the number of divorces from 2003 to 2007; thereafter, black African couples had the highest number of divorces up until 2015. In 2003, 40,0% of the divorcees were from the white population group whereas 24,3% came from the black African population group. By 2015, 42,9% of the divorcees were from the black African population group and 26,1% from the white population group. The proportions of the divorcees from the coloured and the Indian/Asian population groups were quite invariable during the thirteen-year period.

Characteristics of plaintiffs

The 2015 data presented show that more wives than husbands, 13 038 (51,6%) women compared to 8 538 (33,8%) initiated divorce and 2 171 (8,6%) divorces were initiated by both husband and wife.

Except for women from the black African population who had a lower proportion of plaintiffs (45,3%), the proportion of women plaintiffs from the other population groups was above 50,0%. The proportion of women plaintiffs for the white population group, Indian/Asian population group and coloured population group were 58,8%, 55,7% and 54,1% respectively.

The provincial distribution indicates that more people from Gauteng divorced followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. In total, 61,5% of divorces granted in 2015 were from these three provinces.

Number of times married

The 2015 divorce cases for both men and women were mainly from individuals who had married once. More than 80,0% of divorces for men and women were from first-time marriages compared to 12,0% of men and 10,2% of women from second-time marriages. Almost 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 the time of divorce in 2015 were 44 years for males and 40 years for females, indicating that generally, divorced males were older than divorced females, with a difference of about four years. The pattern of median ages in 2015 by population group shows that the highest median age of 44 years occurred among black African and white males, while the lowest median ages occurred among females from the Indian/Asian and ‘other’ population groups, at 39 and 36 years respectively. The difference in the median ages at the time of divorce between males and females was greater in the ‘other’ population group (six years) compared to the 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 reveal that there were fewer divorces among the younger (less than 25 years old) and the older (65 years and older) divorcees. For males, the peak age group at divorce was 40 to 44 for all population groups, except for the coloured population group where the highest peak was from the age group 45 to 49 years. In the case of females, the peak age group for coloured and white population groups was 40 to 44 years and the peak for black African and Indian/Asian population groups was 35 to 39 years.

Duration of marriage of divorcing couples

27,6% of divorces among males were for marriages that lasted between five and nine years. This group is followed by marriages that lasted between ten and fourteen years 18,8% and marriages that lasted for less than five years 17,8%. Thus 45,4% of the divorces in 2015 were marriages that lasted for less than 10 years. According to the results, irrespective of the population group, the highest proportion of divorces occurred to couples who had been married for five to nine years. Thus 32,3% of divorces from the black African; 26,1% from white; 24,9% from coloured and 23,7% from Indian/Asian population groups were marriages that lasted between five and nine years. The white population had the highest proportion 23,6% of divorces that occurred in the first five years. The proportion of divorces in all population groups declined as the duration of marriage increased, with a significant decline being observed after nine years of marriage.

Divorces involving couples with minor children

In 2015, 55,6% of the divorces had children younger than 18 years. The coloured and the white population groups had the highest and lowest proportion of divorces involving couples with children with 63,1% and the 47,2% respectively. 45,6% of children affected by divorce were from the black African population group; 21,6% from the white population group; 20,1% from the coloured population group and 5,9% from the Indian/Asian population group.

Compiled by: Bertus Preller – Family Law Attorney
Bertus Preller & Associates Inc.
Ground Level, The Chambers, 50 Keerom Street, Cape Town, 8000
Telephone: +27 21 422-2461
E-mail: info(@)preller.co.za
Twitter: @bertuspreller

www.divorcelaws.co.za

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/

 

Latest Divorce Statistics South Africa


divorce statistics

Statistics South Africa published the latest divorce statistics on 15 December 2014 based on 21 998 completed divorce forms that StatsSA had received and processed by the end of September 2012. The number indicates an increase of approximately 5% from the 20 980 cases processed in 2011.

Population Groups

Couples from the white population group dominated the number of divorces from 2002 to 2007; thereafter, the black African couples had the highest number of divorces up until 2012. In 2002, 45,2% of the divorcees were from the white population group whereas 22,5% came from the black African population group. By 2012, 33,2% of the divorcees were from the black African population group and 32,9% from the white population group. The proportions of the divorcees from the coloured and the Indian/Asian population groups were quite invariable during the eleven-year period. However, there was a notable increase in the proportions of divorcees from the coloured population group (from 16,6% in 2011 to 18,0% in 2012) which may have affected the results.

Sex

The 2012 data presented show that more wives 11 033 (50,2%) than husbands 7 335 (33,3%) initiated the divorce. The sex of the plaintiff was not specified in 3 630 (16,5%) of divorces. With the exception of women from the black African population who had a lower proportion of plaintiffs (40,7%), the proportion of women plaintiffs from the other population groups was above 50,0%. White population group 57,3%, coloured population group 54,7% and Indian/Asian population group 54,3% 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 (22,1%).

Occupation

A high proportion of the plaintiffs (12,7% of the men and 19,4% of the women) did not indicate the type of occupation they were engaged in at the time of divorce. In addition, 27,4% and 30,3% of the men and women respectively were not economically active at the time of divorce.

Most plaintiffs were in clerical and sales occupations (11,1%); managers and administrators (10,4%) and 8,4% in professional, semi-professional and technical 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 clerical and sales occupations (17,3%).

Number of times married

Most 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 about 10,0% from second-time marriages. Around 2,0% of men and women were getting divorced for at least the third time.

Age at time of divorce

The median ages at divorce were 42 years for men and 38 years for women, indicating that generally, men were older than women, with a difference of about four years. The pattern of median ages in 2012 by population group shows that black African men and men from the white population group had the highest median age of 42 years at the time of divorce while women from the Indian/Asian population group had the lowest median age (36 years). The difference in the median ages at the time of divorce for men and women was higher among the black African population groups (four years) than among the other population groups.

The data reveal that there were fewer divorces among the young (less than 25 years old) and the old (65 years and older) divorcees. For men, the peak age group at divorce was 30 to 34 for Indian/Asian population group while the peak for the black African, white and coloured population groups was 40 to 44. In the case of women, the peak age group was generally at age group 35 to 39 except for the Indian/Asians population group which peaked at 30 to 34.

Duration of marriages

The largest number [6 129 (27,9%)] of the divorces were for marriages that lasted between five and nine years. This group is followed by marriages that lasted less than five years [4 637 (21,1%)]. Thus, almost half (48,9%) of the 21 998 divorces in 2012 were marriages that lasted for less than 10 years. According to results given, irrespective of the population group, the highest proportion of divorces occurred to couples who had married for five to nine years. Thus 33,3% of divorces from the black African; 27,2% from the coloured and 26,6% from the white population groups were marriages that lasted between five and ten years. For the white population an equally high proportion (25,5%) 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 children

In 2012, 12 083 (54,9%) of the 21 998 divorces had children younger than 18 years. Apart from the mixed population group, the coloured and the white population groups had the highest (64,4%) and the lowest (48,0%) percentages respectively. The distribution of the number of children affected by divorce shows that 35,5% were from the black African population group; 28,2% from the white population group and 22,0% from the coloured population group. There were 19 713 children affected by divorce indicating that, on average, there was one child per divorce.

South Africa’s premier website on Divorce and Separation Divorcelaws.co.za revealed through Google Analytics that more than 150 000 people in South Africa visited the website in 2014. It is interesting to note that 89% visitors were from Gauteng, followed by 30% from the Western Cape, 11% from KwaZulu-Natal, 3% from the Eastern Cape, 1.47% from the Free State, 1.11% from North West, 1.31% from Limpopo, 0.67% from Mpumalanga and 0.25% from the Northern Cape.

Compiled by:

Bertus Preller – Family Law Attorney

Bertus Preller & Associates Inc. Cape Town

021 422 2461

Twitter: @bertuspreller

Website: www.divorceattorney.co.za

Source: http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2015/01/latest-divorce-statistics-increase-divorces-women-sue-divorce/

Relocation Dispute, father wins court battle.


child support

E v E (3718/2013) [2014] ZAKZDHC 10 (26 March 2014)

The applicant (mother) in this case was a resident of Luxemburg having emigrated from South Africa in May 2013. The respondent (father) resided at Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal. The applicant sought leave to remove their minor child, J, from the Republic of South Africa for the purpose of relocating permanently with her to Luxemburg. The application was opposed by the respondent.

The parties were married to each other but later divorced. There were two minor children born of the marriage namely a boy seventeen (17) years of age and a J, a girl in grade seven (7). In terms of the divorce order, a settlement agreement between the parties signed in January 2007 was made an order of the court. The settlement agreement provided that it was in the best interest of the children that custody be awarded to the parties jointly. The children “primary residence” was to be with the mother, while the respondent would have the “right of reasonable access to the children” the applicant and the respondent retained their rights of guardianship in respect of both children. The applicant and the respondent retained their rights of guardianship in respect of both children.

On 13 May 2013 (subsequent to the divorce) the applicant left South Africa and relocated / emigrated to Luxemburg. The applicant subsequently wanted to take the younger child J to go and live with her in Luxemburg leaving South Africa permanently. The respondent as the guardian had to give or refuse consent to J’s removal from the Republic of South Africa in terms of Section 18 (3)(c) (iii) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. The respondent refused to give such consent. The applicant as a result thereof brought a court application.

The application was opposed and was ultimately referred for oral evidence. It was not in dispute that the older child wanted to stay with his father. As from 13 May 2013 (the departure of the applicant), J was left in the care of and residence of the respondent at the respondents home in Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal this was the position until March 2014 when the application was heard.

The family advocate referring to the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005 draws attention to the following particular sections:

Section 9:

“in all matters concerning the care, protection and well-being of the child of the standard that the child’s best interest is of paramount importance, must be applied.”

Section 7 (1) (b): “the attitude of the parents, or any specific parent towards

(i)            the child; and

(ii)           the exercise of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child.”

Section 7(1)(d): 

“the likely effect on the child of any change in the child’s circumstances including the likely effect on the child of any separation from

(i) both or either of the parents;

(ii) any brother or sister of the child …”

Section 7(1)(f):

“the need for the child …

(ii) to maintain a connection until his or her family , extended family, culture or tradition;”

Section 7 (1)(g):

“the child :-

(i) age

(ii) gender

(iii) background; and

(iv) any of the relevant characteristics of the child

Section 7(1)(h):

“the child’s physical and emotional security and his or her intellectual, emotional, social and cultural development”

The Family Advocate’s office recommended as follows in both their report:

The children to primarily reside with the respondent. The applicant to be entitled to exercise contact with the children as follows:

Both short school vacations which apply to the children’s school in South Africa. One short vacation to be exercised in South Africa and the other may be abroad. Half of December/ January school vacations which apply to the children’s schools in South Africa, with the halves to alternate annually between the parties may be abroad. Vacation contact which may be at the prior election of the applicant, be exercised in Europe, in which regard the necessary consent is to be given for the children’s passports and for them to travel out of South Africa for the purpose of the vacation. Skype and telephonic contact at reasonable times. Any further contact that the parties may agree upon, including reasonable contact in South Africa in the event that the applicant is available in South Africa, and prior arrangements have been made, subject thereto that it does not interfere with the children’s schooling/ extra-mural activities.

A child psychologist also found that J should remain in the primary care of her father, the respondent in South Africa.

What emerged from the interviews with both Family Advocate and the psychologist was that none of the parents was disqualified as a custodian parent. It also emerged that the applicant and respondent did not see eye to eye. This fact was reported by both children during their interviews they would fight about everything and anything.

The only report proposing otherwise was that of the Respondent’s psychologist who proposed that J should relocate with the applicant to Luxemburg. The psychologist was engaged and paid for by the applicant. This after it became obvious to the applicant that two experts were holding opinions against her. The court found that her psychologist’s report as well as the oral evidence given by the psychologist showed clear signs of partiality.

In the case of Jackson v Jackson 2002 SA 303 SCA it was held that partiality inevitably detracts from the value of expert evidence. Citing the case of Stock v Stock 1981 (3) SA 1980 at 1296 E to F the following was said in Jackson:

“an expert in the field of psychology or psychiatry who is asked to testify in a case of this nature (custody disputes), a case in which difficult emotional, intellectual and psychological problems arise within the family, must be made to understand that he is here to assist the court. If he is to be helpful he must be neutral. The evidence of such a witness is of little value where he or she is partisan and consistently asserts the cause of the party who calls him.”

The applicant’s fiancé also testified. He gave a rosy picture of life in Luxemburg. The court found that although it may be so, that the most important aspect was what was in the interest of the child.

J expressly said that she enjoyed her life in South Africa and would like to spend her time with her friends. J had initially wished to be with her mother at Mtunzini, Northern KwaZulu-Natal but her mother was no longer there but overseas. Because J was still young both the Family Advocate and the psychologist on behalf of the Respondent was of the opinion that she was not able to make any proper reasonable and calculated choice. J expressed the desire to remain in South Africa to the Family Advocate and she has been in the de facto care of the respondent since May 2013 to date of the application.

In determining what is in the best interest of a minor, a court is bound to take into account what has happened in the past and in fact right up till the day of the application. See the case of FS v JJ 2011 (3) SA 126 par 44. The applicant emigrated to Luxemburg leaving J with the respondent. There was evidence that J had improved remarkably in her school work and earned an academic merit award. She passed grade six (6) with an A aggregate. This did not happen while she was in the care of the applicant. She was flourishing intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially. A joint letter from her school teachers supported.

The court found that the applicant’s decision to relocate was not unreasonable and was bona fida but that it was not in the best interest of the child J.

How to have the most horrible divorce ever


Divorce Argument

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce and you want to look back on your divorce process with as much anger and bitterness as possible, then this recipe for a horrible divorce is definitely for you.

Ingredient 1 – Hire a bulldog lawyer who will:

tell you he or she will get everything that you want;

tell you that you have a winning case;

tell you that your spouse’s attorney is an idiot;

tell you he or she will destroy your ex.

This will ensure that you waste thousands of rands in legal costs by approaching the court with interim applications in terms of Rule 43 or 58, by lodging applications for contempt of court or to compel your spouse and by asking the judge to make interim decisions about maintenance and care and contact of your children. In addition you can lodge Domestic Violence applications for protection orders, accuse your spouse of sexual abuse, use your children as pawns and completely alienate your spouse from the children. As a last measure you may want to report your spouse to the Revenue Services. This will ensure that you and your ex remain enemies for the rest of your lives and will need attorneys to do most of the communicating between the two of you. In the process your children will likely suffer the most, the more conflict the better for everyone.

Ingredient 2 – Be as adversarial and confrontational as possible.

Don’t even think about settlement or mediation or collaborative divorce, if you do enter into settlement negotiations use it as a delaying tactic with no intention to settle. Consider this terrifying scenario: You and your spouse being guided by professionals who are committed to helping you communicate effectively to resolve serious issues. Why would you want that? What will you have to add to the conversation when your friends complain and gossip about how badly their divorces are going?

Ingredient 3 – Fight for your principles and ideologies.

Principles are the best way to make sure you spend ridiculous amounts of money on expert and attorney fees. Principles are also a great way to prevent long-term compromise that will make sense a few years down the road.

Ingredient 4 – Insist on having “your” day in court.

By having your day in court you can tell your own story to the judge. You want that judge to hear everything that your spouse did wrong, and rightfully so whether it is relevant or not. You will have a few years to perfect your argument and gather more evidence, in addition to the opportunity to spend hundreds of thousands of rands on legal and expert fees while you wait for that special day. By prolonging the adversity your attorney can enjoy a few relaxing holidays on a tropical island while you prepare for the big fight.

Ingredient 5 – Take out a loan to pay your legal costs.

A divorce like this can easily cost you more than R 300 000. Do not even think of spending this kind of money on your children. It is much better to spend it in your own little war; after all you probably hate your spouse so much that you would rather pay your attorney to fight to the finish. But think about it, hiring a hit man may be cheaper.

Ingredient 6– Hire a psychologist to try and mend all the emotional damage.

By this time you will be so emotionally drained, exhausted and psychologically messed up that you will need help. It may be best at this stage to trade in what is left of your estate and pay for the services of a good psychologist who you will likely need for the rest of your life.

For those of you who want to ensure that you are fighting with your estranged spouse for years to come, I hope this post has been helpful.

Finally, take my advice. If you do divorce, think of your children and for heaven’s sake try to part ways as amicably as possible. High levels of parental conflict during and after divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. Conflict costs money.  Clearly, it also costs the children of divorce.

Compiled by Bertus Preller

Family Law and Divorce Attorney and author of Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation – Random House.

Twitter: bertuspreller

Web: http://www.divorceattorney.co.za

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/divorceattorneys

Source:  http://voices.news24.com/bertus-preller/2013/08/how-to-have-the-worst-divorce-possible/

Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation by Bertus Preller

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

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