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

Domestic violence

It very often happens in the middle of a divorce that one party is being abused by the other party, and needs some form of legal protection. This is where the Domestic Violence Act comes into play.

The abuse mentioned above can take the form of verbal, physical, financial or emotional/psychological abuse. One of the main advantages of obtaining a domestic abuse interdict is that should there be a domestic argument, the police will only intervene and lock somebody up if the other party is in possession of a domestic violence interdict.

The domestic violence interdict, otherwise known as a protection order, can be obtained in the magistrate’s court. This is far cheaper than applying at the high court for an interdict. All that is required is for the complainant to attend at the local court where he/she resides to apply for an interim protection order. The protection order must be served on the other party either by the sheriff of the court or by the police. There are no costs involved if you choose to have it served by the police, but one would have to pay the sheriff for service.

Once the protection order is served on the Respondent, a return date is given for him/her to appear in court to decide whether he/she is going to oppose it or not. Until this return court date, the protection order is referred to as being an “interim protection order”. It does however have the same effect as a final order.

In terms of the domestic violence act any person who has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent may apply for the protection order. This basically means that anybody who lives or has lived with another person in a relationship similar to a marriage, regardless of whether they are of the opposite or same sex, and who are/were in an engagement, dating or customary relationship, can apply for the protection order. This is not limited to an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration.

I would certainly recommend to any abused party in a divorce to apply for a protection order under the necessary circumstances.


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