Divorce Cover that’s there for you through stressful times.
Divorce is a tough process, no matter how your marriage ended. We all hope our divorce can be worked out amicably, and inexpensively. Divorce proceedings can, however, quickly turn messy. The last thing you need is to be worrying about how to afford to get divorced.
With Divorce Cover through our Bidvest Insurance Legal Angel policy, you have the reassurance of knowing that your divorce proceedings are financially taken care of. Legal Angel will guide you through the proceedings, from start to finish. We make sure you and your personal affairs are protected.
Getting a divorce
Getting a divorce is always a worst-case scenario. Divorce is an incredibly painful and stressful experience. For some people, it’s as easy as moving back home. For others, it is the worst experience of their lives, especially if you have been with your partner for a long time and every part of your lives is still intertwined.
With divorce, there are a number of things that need to be taken into account. There are children, your finances and other belongings that have been shared for so long. In most cases, nobody really knows what belongs to who, and this can often cause unnecessary arguments. The most stressful part of a divorce having to separate your emotions from the facts and proceedings.
Grounds for divorce in South Africa
The Divorce Act 70 of 1979 introduced 3 grounds for divorce: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, continuous unconsciousness of a spouse, or mental illness of a spouse.
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the most common ground for divorce in South Africa. This situation means that the marriage relationship is considered to be permanently broken beyond repair. The following, among others, can be used to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage:
- Living apart for 1 year prior to the date on which divorce proceedings were instituted.
- Domestic violence (physical, emotional, psychological or financial abuse by a spouse).
- Malicious desertion.
- Alcoholism or drug addiction.
- Habitual criminal or imprisonment.
A court may grant a decree of divorce on the grounds of mental illness if the court is satisfied that the defendant has been admitted as a patient to an institution in terms of the reception order, is being detained as a state patient at an institution or is being detained as a mentally ill convicted prisoner at an institution.
Alternatively, a divorce order may also be granted, provided that the defendant has, for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action, not been discharged unconditionally as such a patient, state patient or mentally ill prisoner.
A court may grant a decree of divorce on the grounds that the defendant is in a state of continuous unconsciousness, if it is satisfied that:
The defendant’s unconsciousness has lasted for a continuous period of at least six months immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action. The court will also have to have heard evidence from at least two medical practitioners, one of whom must be a neurologist or a neurosurgeon appointed by the court, that there is no reasonable prospect that the defendant will ever regain consciousness.
The South African divorce system
In South Africa, we have a ‘no fault’ system of divorce, meaning that a divorce will be granted if one of the parties believes that there has been an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship’ and that there are no reasonable prospects of restoring it.
The divorce rate
The divorve rate in South Africa is at 17.6%, which is relatively low by world standards, but it still means that nearly one in five marriages end in divorce. The most vulnerable time for a divorce is said to be between five and nine years of marriage. This, unfortunately, means that there are often young children who battle because of their parents’ divorce, especially if it turns ugly.
An antenuptial contract (ANC) is entered into in the case where a couple does not want to get married in community of property. Without an ANC, you are considered married in community of property automatically in South Africa. An ANC is concluded before a marriage takes place and often affects how your divorce will play out. They are especially important for someone who already has assets, owns their own business, or has other family obligations.
An antenuptial contract enables both partners to retain their own separate estates and define and allocate their mutual assets, unlike if they were married in community of property.
Types of divorce
In South Africa, there are three different types of divorces: Contested divorce, mediated divorce and uncontested divorce.
Contested divorces happen when the spouses cannot reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of their divorce. Disagreements usually relate to the division of assets, custody of the children, and maintenance.
Contested divorces often tend to take years to conclude. This can often cause an even greater emotional and financial stress on both parties.
A mediated divorce occurs when a couple is unable to agree a divorce settlement and employ the services of an attorney or mediator to help them negotiate and come to an agreement. The main purpose of the mediation is to help the parties pursue an uncontested divorce.
A mediated divorce is usually preferred over a contested divorce as it can drastically reduce costs. With mediation, a divorce can often be finalised within 3 months.
An uncontested divorce is the quickest and least expensive type of divorce. It can usually be finalised within 6 weeks which minimises emotional stress on both parties. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, some of which include: The division of assets, spousal maintenance, child maintenance, and the custody and parental rights and responsibilities of minor children.
How much does a divorce cost?
Divorce is expensive: there’s not two ways about it. In a contested divorce, fees are often billed by the hour, by an attorney, and mainly depend on the conduct of the parties. A contested divorce can easily cost hundreds of thousands of Rands in fees and disbursements.
For an uncontested divorce, which is considered the cheapest type of divorce, you could pay anything from R800 to R20,000, depending on the complexity of the settlement agreement.
What you’ll need to get a divorce
Before being granted a divorce, you’ll have to be able to prove that you’ve found a solution to a number of crucial issues, including:
- Custody of the children (If any) – Arrangements must be agreed before the divorce can proceed.
- Maintenance payments (If any) – The court will issue a maintenance order confirming who will pay what. If the parties cannot agree, it is left up to the court to decide.
- Division of assets – Assets are usually allocated during a divorce unless there is an antenuptial contract.
When applying for a divorce, you’ll need the following:
- Details of your marriage (date and location of the marriage).
- Your names and addresses.
- Your identity documents.
- A copy of your marriage certificate.
- A copy of your antenuptial contract.
- Details of any children.
- Grounds for divorce.
Legal Angel divorce cover
The problem with just calling in a lawyer is that it comes at. a great cost. With Legal Angel, you pay a small monthly amount for unlimited legal help and advice.
Bidvest Insurance understands the individual needs of our clients. We understand the sensitive nature of divorce proceedings and how the best solution is found in making sure that they are as smooth as possible. Divorce is hard enough as it is, there’s nothing worse than having to worry about your finances whilst going through a tough divorce.
Our legal cover is with you, from start to finish. Legal Angel provides you with unlimited mediation and advisory services. Should things transpire further than is desired, we provide legal cover options for divorce matters.
How much am I covered for with Legal Angel?
Our Legal Angel cover options start from as little as R109 per month for Essential Cover. Under our Elite Cover option, you will receive up to R200 000 cover for opposed divorce proceedings.
What other benefits does Legal Angel have?
- 24-Hour Legal Advice Line: Included in our policy is our 24-hour legal assistance line. You can contact us with any questions at any time of the day.
- Divorce Cover: Getting divorced is no trip down easy streets. We’re here to assist with the stressful and uncertain circumstances surrounding your divorce.
- Unlimited Mediation: We also offer unlimited mediation services when you need it.
- Drafting Of Wills: A will is very important. We’ll help you draft the best one for you, to secure your legacy and ensure your wishes are adhered to.
- 24-hour Bail Assistance Cover: Included in our policy is 24-hour bail assistance cover available when you need it.
- Cover if you are Retrenched: In the unfortunate event of a retrenchment, Legal Angel has you covered.
- Antenuptial Contracts: Legal Angel is there to support you. You will receive unlimited cover for antenuptial contracts.
- Tax Advice: As part of our Legal Angel cover benefits you will also receive unlimited advice on your tax affairs.
- Legal Document Library: With Legal Angel, you will have access to our vast Legal document library.
- Litigation Cover: With Legal Angel, you’re covered for litigation of up to R200 000 under our Elite Cover policy option.
Divorce is hard, but with Legal Angel, you will never be alone, there will always be someone right by your side, guiding you through the process. Legal Angel from Bidvest Insurance helps take the pinch out of the divorce process. Let us help you navigate this process, while keeping your emotions and finances intact. For more information on Legal Angel, read here.