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

Sex and divorce

"My spouse has withdrawn sexually from me. Must we get divorced?" Working as a divorce attorney I do not try and ask too much when posed with the abovementioned question, as it does not really concern me. But unfortunately when a client raises this question, I have to respond to it, and give whatever advice I can.

Normally when a client explains to me what the reasons for the breakdown in the marriage are, their explanations are more or less the same. There is no meaningful communication between the parties, the parties have normally lost love (and/or respect) for each other, and by virtue of these circumstances the one spouse (or both) has withdrawn from the other.

Some attorneys make the averment in their particulars of claim that “the parties no longer partake in matrimonial consortium”, which in simple terms means that they no longer have any sexual relations with each other. Other attorneys make the averment on behalf of their clients that “the parties are separated from bed and table”. I prefer to make the more subtle averment in my papers and aver that there is “no meaningful communication”.

I personally as an attorney believe that when averring that there is “no meaningful communication”, this reason covers the fact that there is no longer any matrimonial consortium. But I am more than prepared to aver on behalf of my client that there is no longer any matrimonial consortium, if specifically instructed by my client so to aver.

I would say that in about seventy percent of my cases the lack of consortium is one of a few factors which has contributed to the breakdown in the marriage. Very often people only get married because they have an initial sexual attraction to each other, only later to discover that they share little in common with each other.

More often than not it is a client who has a child or two with his/her partner who instructs me that the reason for the breakdown in the marriage is a lack of consortium. Raising a young child really challenges a relationship as parties spend most of their time attending to the child, whilst finding little time for each other. Some couples spend months or even years sleeping in separate bedrooms before deciding to end their marriage.

I have had clients instructing me that they believe their spouse is “gay” or “lesbian”, and that they have lost all sexual interest in each other. One client even advised me that he and his wife had not once in their five year marriage been intimate with each other.

In order for a marriage to work my respectful opinion is that the parties have to make time for each other as far as intimacy is concerned. This is an essential ingredient for a successful marriage. With this lacking the marriage is destined to head to the divorce courts.

article written by Cape Town divorce lawyer, Peter M Baker

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