Marriages are considered to be contracts that bind couples together forever. However in unfortunate situations of divorce, South African citizens who got divorced in a foreign country should take the necessary steps to register the divorce. The registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa is granted by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The registration of foreign divorce in the country, whether in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria is vital as the marriage status has to change as the marriage contract has been nullified.
The registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa.
Most people are unaware of the fact that there is no formal application for the registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa for people who got divorced in a foreign country. It is very common for divorce applicants to ask questions such as, when can I register a foreign divorce at the Department of Home Affairs? regardless of the fact that, there isn’t a formal registration process, the department has to be informed of the divorce.
This step is important, as it is the only way that the person who got divorced in a foreign country’s marital status can be updated on the National Population Register. Moreover, as foreign divorce refers to a divorce that was granted in a foreign country and not in South Africa, this divorce is not the same as an international divorce granted in South Africa. Many people seem to confuse the two divorces.
The documents that must be submitted at the Department of Home Affairs:
- Request letter of the registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa.
- A certified copy of the foreign divorce order.
- Certified copies of the applicant and the ex-spouses’ passports and/or Identity card.
- Special power of attorney affidavit, in a case of an attorney submitting the documents on behalf of the applicant.
- Sworn translation of the foreign divorce order, in a case of the foreign divorce order that is written in another language and not in English.
The cost and process of the registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs does not charge a fee for the registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa. However persons who use an attorney to submit the documents on their behalf, will have to pay, as the attorney will charge an amount that is in line with their fee structure. The Department of Home Affairs can take months on end to register the foreign divorce and to update the parties’ details on their system in terms of the marital status. Even so, it takes only a few minutes to hand the required documents for the registration of a foreign divorce in at the Department of Home Affairs.
In what circumstance can a divorce be granted in South Africa?
Each and every individual who got legally married and the legal contract does not serve their purpose is entitled to file for a divorce if they can prove the following facts to the court of law:
- That their spouse is mentally ill or continuously unconscious.
- They have differences, that make it impossible for them to live together and there is no chance of resolving them.
- In terms of spouses that do not want to get divorced, the other party can get divorce granted in the court of law without their consent.
- Also in special circumstances a marriage can be annulled. Marriage annulment differs from a divorce, as it does not only dissolve the marriage but it also wipes it off the record.
To sum it all up, persons who want to file for a divorce need to have summons served, as the first step. The divorce summons will then be served personally to the defendant by the sheriff of the court. Persons, who want to divorce in South Africa, can divorce in the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court having jurisdiction in their area or in the High Court. In spite of whether they are in Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria or Johannesburg. Unlike other countries, legal separation is not allowed in South Africa, even in circumstances of a couple living separately, without a formal divorce. The law still considers the couple married.
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