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

Divorce and the “Particulars of Claim”

The particulars of claim is the document which must be annexed to the divorce summons. It must comply with the court rules to be valid.

In the first clause you would have to state the full names, gender, job description and address of the Plaintiff, who is the party instituting the action. You would also have to refer to that person as being an adult e.g. Plaintiff is Joe Soap an adult male plumber residing at 3 Pumpkin Street, Cape Town. Similarly in the second clause the Defendant would have to be referred to in a similar fashion. It is important therefore to give correct particulars to your attorney to enable him/her to draft the documentation.

Clause three of the particulars of claim deals with jurisdiction. An averment would have to be made that the relevant court has jurisdiction to hear the matter. A court would not for example have jurisdiction if both parties are citizens of another country.

The fourth clause would indicate the place of marriage and the date of marriage. It is important to give your marriage certificate to your attorney at the first consultation to ensure that the date of marriage is correct.

Clause five would normally deal with the minor children born of the marriage. If a child is under the age of 18 years then the full names, gender and date of birth of the child should be reflected. If a child is adopted, then that child should also be mentioned in this paragraph.

Clause six deals with the reasons for the breakdown in the marriage. In order to get divorced you have to be able to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Common reasons for the breakdown in a marriage are a lack of meaningful communication and that the parties have lost love and respect for each other.

Sometimes a clause seven is included in the particulars of claim, for example where an order is claimed for forfeiture of the benefits of the marriage, or accrual or donations in terms of the antenuptial contract.

Clause eight of the particulars of claim deals with the relief sought by the Plaintiff in respect of custody, maintenance and division of assets. This is the most important clause in the particulars of claim, as the Plaintiff’s whole case rests on how he/she plans on sorting out the finances.

It normally takes an attorney a few hours to draft the particulars of claim. It is important that this is done correctly, as this is a court document which the judge will have sight of at the trial. If it is not drafted correctly, it may have to be amended at a later stage, which is a time consuming and costly process.

Other divorce-related documentation

Seperation agreement

Final order of divorce


married overseas annulmentreasons for divorce