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International Divorce

Filing for divorce is a relatively simple procedure. According to divorce law South Africa, divorce initially starts with serving a summons on your spouse and so regular divorce procedure will follow. The defendant will have a certain amount of time in which he/she can contest the divorce, or if the terms of divorce have been prearranged the divorce is uncontested and will proceed fairly smoothly, affordably, and quickly.

In some instances, spouses may separate and one of the spouses may relocate to another country. Divorce law South Africa offers solutions to deal with these and similar complications. A divorce summons cannot be served if a spouse is not available. According to divorce law South Africa, a divorce summons must be served in person by the sheriff of the court. One might wonder how to accomplish this if the defendant lives in another country.

According to divorce law South Africa a South African court will have jurisdiction where the parties or either of the parties are domiciled in the area of the court’s jurisdiction on the date on which the action is instituted or ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted or has been ordinarily resident in the republic for a period of not less than one year immediately prior to that date.

Fortunately, divorce law South Africa allows for these scenarios to be taken care of quite simply. Firstly, if the defendant lives in another country, the plaintiff must first approach the court by way of an Edictal Citation application. This is because, according to divorce law South Africa, a summons must be served in person, and the Edictal Citation allows the plaintiff to serve a summons on the defendant in a foreign country, properly by an official of the court in that country. Another method in which the divorce summons can be served on the defendant if he/she lives in another country is to serve the summons on an address in South Africa which the defendant had chosen in terms of Power of Attorney.

When the defendant has been served with a divorce summons in the foreign country, he/she has a designated time frame in which he/she can defend the divorce action. If the defendant ignores or defends the summons, regular procedure can move forward. This means that after reaching settlement on the financial terms the matter may be set down for a date that has been prearranged with the Registrar of the high court.

Often time’s estranged spouses may lose touch with each other and one spouse may not be able to be located. When this happens the court may serve a summons by substituted service.

Divorce law South Africa also allows for divorce between spouses if the party wishing to get divorced, the plaintiff, resides in another country, but his/her spouse resides in South Africa. Likewise, according to divorce law South Africa, two spouse who are not South African citizens but whom have resided in the country for at least one year may get divorced in a South African court.

So divorce law South Africa provides options in which international divorce is possible. These situations can be very complex, especially where contested divorce is concerned. Contested divorce grants more problems and can have long lasting, negative effects on the family, hurt you financially, and take years to conclude. Where possible, contested divorce should be considered and discussed with a spouse, even when the divorce is of an international nature. Divorce law South Africa is based on a system which presents the least complications and disruptions throughout the entirety of the process, and serves to result in a situation that works in the best interest of all parties involved.


International Divorce - Divorce Law South Africa