How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Protection orders & divorces

Protection orders (otherwise known as”interdicts” or “restraining orders”) often go hand-in-hand with divorces. As soon as there is a problem in a relationship the first thing that normally happens is that the one party obtains a protection order against the other.

A client consulted me recently. His wife had been sleeping out of the house on a regular basis without affording any reasonable explanation as to why she had been sleeping out. He also told me that he had seen proof that she had been regularly chatting to other men on internet chat sites and forums.

Eventually, prior to my client consulting me, my client’s wife had served an interim protection order on my client. She alleged that he had been abusing her physically and emotionally. He of course denied this. He then found email proof that she had spent a night with a male who she had met on a chat site.

My client confronted his wife about the email. She denied that there had been sexual relations between them. She assaulted him, and he then applied for a protection order against her too. He had a medical report from which it was clear that he had been assaulted.

My client and his wife had protection orders against each other. They were not allowed in each others’ rooms in the family home. The reality of the matter is that a protection order does not solve family problems or problems between a husband and wife.

The aim of the protection order is to take away the power from the party who is perceived to be the “abusing party”. Often the party who is being abused is seen to be the “abuser”. Parties often withhold the truth at protection order hearings and create an untruthful belief in the court’s mind that they are being abused when in fact they are the abuser.

In another case a female client of mine was sharing a house with her uncle. Here too they both had protection orders against each other. She worked on a cruise ship and was not at home all the time. When however she was at home, her uncle abused her verbally. He even at one stage got her locked up by the police.

In the above case my client had a legal right to be in the house. Her grandmother stayed there too, and she had to take care of her grandmother, who was bedridden. She even sent money home when she was on the cruise ships for her grandmother’s medication. Her uncle had misused the protection order to try and swing the law in his favour and get her out of the house. It was not even registered in his name, but in the counsel’s name, and she had a valid right to be there.

Once two parties have protection orders against each other, and live together, they clearly do not get on. To avoid possible prosecution or other lethal problems I would advise a client to move out of the house in this type of situation as it is unhealthy.

Even if a party verily believes they are in the right in this type of situation, sometimes it is just best to be the mature person and move out. This is not always financially possible, but friends and family often help in this type of situation. You are the winner of the situation in reality if you just remove yourself from the home.


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