Once a divorce is finalised in court, you are officially divorced. The next step would however be for your attorney to uplift the typed divorce order form court and to post it to you or for you to collect it from his/her offices.
The divorce order is either typed by the court or by the attorney who handled your matter. The attorney normally types it himself only if the client requests the divorce order to be made available immediately after the divorce. In the normal course you would have to wait approximately ten days after a divorce order is made final before the divorce order is made available for collection by the attorney from the court file.
It is the duty of the court to send the divorce order to the department of home affairs. However due to the heavy backlog at the courts, this is sometimes not done. I would therefore urge all clients to make sure that they contact the department of home affairs after the divorce to check whether the court did in fact send the divorce order, and whether their matrimonial status has been changed. You do not want a situation to arise where you for example decide to marry somebody else five years down the line, only to discover that your matrimonial status has not been changed at the department of home affairs.
The divorce order normally consists of one or two pages indicating the date of divorce, and to which is annexed a copy of the settlement agreement which was signed by the two parties who got divorced. Sometimes however parties get divorced without a settlement agreement having been signed, and then only the prayers on the plaintiff’s particulars of claim will appear on the actual divorce order.
I as an attorney would insist before uplifting the divorce order and settlement agreement that the court certifies the settlement agreement to be a true copy of the original. Some banks, for example, and other financial institutions may require a certified copy at a later stage should you apply for financial assistance.
An example of what a final divorce order looks like can be found below:
CASE NUMBER: CT 0000/00
FINAL ORDER OF DIVORCE
IN THE SOUTHERN DIVORCE COURT
AT CAPE TOWN ON THE 6th DAY OF DECEMBER 2008
Before the Honourable Mrs Justice
In the matter between:
JANE SOAP (Born Doe) Plaintiff
JOE SOAP Defendant
Having heard the Legal Representative for the Plaintiff and having read the documents filed of record,
IT IS ORDERED
That the bonds of marriage subsisting between Plaintiff and Defendant be and are hereby dissolved.
That the settlement agreement filed of record and marked “B” is made an Order of Court.
BY ORDER OF THE COURT
This article was written by Cape Town lawyer, Peter M Baker
Particulars of claim - example
About the particulars of claim form