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Divorce, Family Law & Commercial Attorneys in South Africa

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Divorce, Family Law & Commercial Attorneys in South Africa

Wooden nameplate with Divorce Attorney title

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys deal with different areas of private law. 

As Family Law Attorneys, Divorce Attorneys work with the law relating to family structures and the dynamics around the family. 

International Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in South Africa

When it comes to divorce or family law matters in South Africa, rely on Martin Vermaak Attorneys for expert legal advice and representation. Our extensive experience in these cases ensures dedicated advocacy for your interests, guiding you through the process and resolving disputes concerning child issues, property division, and spousal support. Contact us today for great, qualified and experienced divorce attorneys.

Family Law Textbook

Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally challenging process, particularly when there are disputes over issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support.

If you are considering divorce or facing family law issues in South Africa, it is important to seek the advice and representation of a qualified divorce attorney.

Family Law Attorneys Practices Law in The Following Areas: 

  • Divorce
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Maintenance
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Estate Planning, such as the drafting of wills and antenuptial agreements. 

Divorce Attorneys protect and enforce the rights of their clients relating to the financial aspects of the divorce, together with parental rights and responsibilities if there are minor children involved and child and spousal maintenance claims. 

What Is the Difference Between a Divorce Attorney and a Divorce Lawyer? 

The terms “divorce attorney” or “divorce lawyer” are used interchangeably in South Africa. However, it generally refers to a qualified and admitted legal practitioner formally acknowledged in Court as either an Attorney or Advocate.

However, the generic term “lawyer” refers to legally trained people who are not necessarily admitted as Attorneys or Advocates. 

This may include people with a legal degree or other legal qualifications. Although they still have not been admitted as Attorneys or Advocates in the High Court of South Africa.

How To Choose The Best Divorce Attorney For Your Needs 

Deciding to launch a divorce action is one of those mammoth decisions that will impact heavily on the rest of your life and determine how it will be.

There are many Attorneys in South Africa. When you select a Divorce Attorney, you need to ensure that the law firm and Divorce Attorney you choose handles many divorce and family law matters. I.e., experience counts in law. 

It serves no purpose to consult with a Conveyancer or a Labour Attorney about a divorce matter.

Read More about 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney

If you are a High Nett Worth Individual, do not go to Divorce Attorneys specialising in unopposed divorces. 

HNWI Yacht

There is a vast difference in how an unopposed divorce must be dealt with – compared to a complex divorce where the spouses may have shares in different companies, and there are trusts involved, etcetera.

Learn more aboutThe Challenges of Divorcing High-Net-Worth Individuals.

You must also realise that you must feel comfortable with the Divorce Attorney you instruct. 

A good Divorce Attorney will give you different options yet point you in the direction of choice with the best possible outcome.

Making The First Phone Call to The Divorce Attorney 

Many people fear picking up the phone and making that first call to a Divorce Attorney. They put it off for days, even weeks, until the pressure builds, and they either give up and don’t make the call, or they make the call but in such a stressed way that they don’t hear much of the information they were seeking.

If you need to make the call to get a divorce consult, write a list of things you need to know. 

Check your diary to see which dates and times you’re available, and make sure you have funds to pay for the consult.

Now Make the Call 

Ask the name and status of the person with whom you are speaking. Remember that no one will give you legal advice over the phone, and they probably won’t be putting you through to an attorney.

For a divorce consult, tell the receptionist it’s a divorce; if asked, tell them how you are married and how many children there are, give them your phone number and email address and make the appointment. You don’t have to tell them any more than that.

You certainly don’t have to go into any detail whatsoever until you meet your Attorney and start answering their questions. 

So that’s it. That’s the first move. You picked up the phone and made an appointment, and nothing terrible has happened to you.

When you go along to this first consult, please remember that you’re under no obligation to return or proceed with the divorce.

The First Consultation with The Divorce Attorney 

The purpose of the first consultation with a Divorce Attorney is so that the Divorce Attorney can explain to you, your legal position relating to your divorce.

You should understand your legal rights and obligations when the consultation is finished. 

Always prepare for the first consultation with your Divorce Attorney by having the following information documents available: 

  • Details of your marital regime. If you are married with an antenuptial agreement, take a copy of the antenuptial agreement with you for the consult.
  • A spreadsheet of your income and expenses. 
  • A spreadsheet of your assets and liabilities.
  • Details of any company in which you or your spouse is a director or shareholder, and details of any trust documents where you or your spouse are trustees or beneficiaries of the trust.
  • FICA compliance – such as proof of your residence.
  • Marriage certificates and Birth Certificates.

Having all the documents available at the first consultation is unnecessary, but your Divorce Attorney can advise you better if they have all the facts. 

Click here to read aboutDivorce 101: What to Ask and Expect in Your First Consultation.

In What Courts Does a Divorce Attorney Practice? 

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys generally appear in the Regional Courts, High Courts, Domestic Violence Courts, Maintenance Courts, Children’s Courts and occasionally in the Supreme Court of Appeal or even the Constitutional Court.

Martin Vermaak has personally and often appeared or litigated in these High Courts: 

  • North Gauteng High Court
  • South Gauteng High Court
  • Pietermaritzburg High Court
  • Kimberley High Court
  • Durban High Court
  • Cape Town High Court

Martin Vermaak and our other Attorneys have appeared often in many Magistrate’s Courts, including: 

  • Randburg Magistrate’s Court
  • Pretoria Magistrate’s Court
  • Soweto Magistrate’s Court
  • Germiston Magistrate’s Court
  • Verulam Magistrate’s Court
  • Durban Magistrate’s Court
  • Cape Town Magistrate’s Court
  • and many more.

Do Divorce Attorneys Settle Divorces? 

Very few divorces will end up in the Divorce Trial Court for a hearing.

Most Divorces Will Be Settled by The Divorce Attorneys Long Before Trial 

Divorce word written on wood block

In some instances, the Divorce Attorneys will refer the clients for mediation. In most cases, the Divorce Attorneys will have a so-called “round table” meeting to attempt settlement of the divorce.

Some divorces are settled before the institution of the divorce action. Most divorces are settled long before trial, and some divorces will be settled on the day of the divorce trial.

We generally do not propose a settlement meeting before finalising the discovery process, except if our client knows the estate’s true value (s). 

Major Causes of Divorce as Seen By Divorce Attorneys  

There are many reasons why people decide to go ahead with a divorce. These Major Causes of Divorce include the following:

  • Laziness
  • Lack of Communication
  • Unmet Expectations
  • Financial Problems
  • Infidelity
  • Abuse
  • Jealousy and Insecurity
  • Religious Beliefs and Cultural Differences

Do Divorce Attorneys Work for Free? 

While Divorce Attorneys provide free legal services, it is generally done in terms of the Legal Practice Counsel’s pro bono scheme.

In terms of this, every Practising Attorney in South Africa under the age of 60 years is required to do 24 hrs pro bono work per year.

How Much Does a Divorce Attorney Charge? 

Divorce Attorneys generally work at hourly rates, which differ substantially in terms of the complexity of the work, and the experience of the Divorce Attorney.

Divorce Attorneys cannot handle divorces on a contingency basis, i.e., no win, no fee.

However, some Divorce Attorneys are willing to wait until the divorce is finalised before they get paid. This is not something that often happens in practice, and it will typically only happen if the estate(s) is(are) substantial.

Make sure you understand how and when your Divorce Attorney will charge you before you proceed to instruct them.

Who Pays the Divorce Attorney? 

Usually, the spouse who instructs the Divorce Attorney is the person that pays for that Attorney.

The Court may order the one spouse to pay the other spouse’s legal costs – but this would only be after the matter is finalised. The Court will usually grant an order favouring the “winning” spouse.

Final Thoughts on Divorce Attorneys and Family Law Attorneys 

A Divorce Attorney or a Family Law Attorney can play a significant role in your life after the divorce – for many years to come. 

The outcome of your divorce will deal with the financial result and, if you have minor children, with your parental rights and responsibilities.

Choose your Divorce Attorney carefully, but if you do not get along, or if you do not trust your divorce attorney with your future, quickly obtain a second opinion!

In conclusion, if you are facing divorce or family law issues in South Africa, it is essential to seek the guidance and representation of a qualified divorce attorney.

Are you in need of a skilled and compassionate divorce attorney in South Africa? Look no further than Martin Vermaak Attorneys.

Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to advocating for our clients and ensuring their interests are protected. We offer valuable legal advice and assistance with various issues related to divorce, including child custody, property division, and spousal support.

Don’t navigate this difficult time alone. Contact Martin Vermaak Attorneys and let us help you achieve a positive outcome. Our expertise and commitment to our clients make us the perfect choice for your legal needs.

In addition to our expertise in divorce and family law matters, we also have extensive experience handling a wide range of commercial legal issues, making us a comprehensive legal partner for all your personal and business-related legal needs.

Read More: 

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney

How to obtain a Protection Order (Explained) 

Types Of Courts for Divorce and Family Law in South Africa

What to do if you cannot locate your spouse and you want to get a divorce?

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