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

The Recession helped save my marriage

I was speaking to a fellow divorce attorney at court the other day, and whilst waiting for the magistrate we discussed business. He was telling me how his business had experienced a 60% drop in profit over the last financial year and how expensive it is to run a business nowadays.

My colleague was definitely correct too when he said that the only explanation for the drop in profit of his business has been the recent recession. People simply cannot afford to pay a big deposit to get divorced.

I have recently also noticed a few divorce practises closing down. One in particular were attorneys who I knew quite well. We attorneys in these times have to keep our expenses low in order to survive. As soon as your office rental is too high or your salaries, your business will start suffering. The first sign of a business “going down” is usually when they stop advertising.

I recently read that The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) said that in a recent survey more than half of its 1600 members had cited a drop in divorce filings during the current recession.

In the abovementioned survey in total 57% of the attorneys noted fewer divorce filings since the last quarter of 2008, and only 14% noted an increase in filings during the recession. AAML president Gary Nickelson was quoted as saying “The current economic climate is proving to be far more unforgiving than estranged couples seeking a divorce”.

The fact of the matter is that unfortunately if you want proper legal representation in a divorce you have to pay for it. You could go to the local Southern Divorce Court (in Cape Town) or similar lower court in other provinces where you will get free assistance, but that may be a big price to pay, as the assistance is very often by somebody who is unqualified.

I recently had a case where my client was working as a receptionist. She earned a mere R6000 per month. Her husband was manager on a farm and only earned R10,000, which in today’s terms really isn’t much. Although they were constantly arguing about money they simply could not afford to pay an attorney a deposit to proceed with the divorce.

In the abovementioned case they also had a young baby and with all the expenses they couldn’t afford to go their separate ways as they could only jointly afford to pay their rent and wouldn’t be able to afford to go their separate ways. My client tells me that she and her husband are trying to work things through but remarked to me that “the recession helped save my marriage”.

Nobody really knows when the worldwide recession will improve and we can only hope for the best. It is just quite strange how the recession affects everything, including the divorce rate.

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