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

Divorce and the day in court

The day of the actual divorce in court is a big day in anybody’s life, and it is best to arrive at the court early in the morning. There will be a list on the court door, otherwise known as a “court roll” which should have your name on it if the attorney has followed the correct procedure. It may be wise to bring reading material along, as very often the magistrates arrive at court late and a great deal of time is spent at the court waiting for the magistrate.

One must dress smartly at court, as magistrates and judges do not like shorts and hats or caps. It is preferable to wear a suit to court. Cellular telephones should be switched off prior to entering the court room. Once your name is called up there will be a witness box which you should approach. The attorney will then address the court and advise the magistrate that he/she is acting on your behalf and that you elect to give evidence in either English or Afrikaans. If you elect to give evidence in Xhosa or any other language an interpreter should be arranged prior to the time. When a magistrate requests an answer from you, you should answer with the words “Your Worship” (if it is in the magistrate’s court). If it is in the High Court you should answer the judge and refer to him/her as “My Lord” or “My Lady”.

Anybody is welcome to attend the court proceedings, including members of the public, which is in accordance with a constitutional principle that “justice must be seen to be done”. One must ensure that you bring the original marriage certificate and antenuptial contract to court, as the divorce may not go through in the absence of these documents. It is advisable for both parties to attend court, as the chances of the divorce being granted are a lot stronger. It is also better for purposes of closure.

Once the presiding official announces that a final divorce order is granted, you must step down and leave the court. Appearance at court and manners displayed are essential in obtaining the final divorce order.


married overseas annulmentreasons for divorce