Here Comes The Sheriff

The divorce action begins with one of you issuing a divorce summons. This is, to put it simply, the document stating that you or your partner want a divorce for the listed reasons on the summons.  Roaming eyes, addicted to his phone, she’s left herself go, he’s abusive, she’s a psycho, he’s addicted to porn. Peoples reasons for divorce can be a collection of the most bizarre accusations. Whatever the reasons are, the summons must be served personally on the defendant (the receiving party) by a sheriff of the court. (He will not necessarily be wearing a sheriff’s badge, a cowboy hat, or be riding a horse) I don’t know about you but I call that false advertising! He should simply be called a ‘man’ of the court until such time when this so called ‘sheriff’ starts to become more creative when it comes to his image. You can run from this guy all you like but I can assure you that he will seek you out and he will find you and you will be served. The defendant then has 10 days to file a notice of intention to defend themselves, or they have 20 days, if they are living in a different province.

There are two types of divorce:

Contested: One of the parties is not happy about the idea of divorce and simply doesn’t want it.

Uncontested: Both parties are happy to end the marriage. Uncontested divorces can obviously be wrapped up far quicker than a contested divorce. Two or more years can be the worst case scenario. Not. Even. Joking. Mine took over 2 years. You know what that means? That means that you hemorrhage money over a period of 2 years. *gulp*  Sorry I just vomited a little in my own mouth on reflection.

The aim of the game is to come to a settlement long before the case ever has to go to court. Some cases have even been settled on the steps of the courthouse on the morning of the court case. How poetic! You think? No! That outcome is utter bulls*%# because that means that you’ve spent all of that money preparing for a trial, that never actually takes place. Take all of that paperwork, and all of those files that have been put together in preparation for trial and chuck them in the recycling bin because you will never use them. That outcome, is the outcome that you need to ensure, does not happen.

So, what is a settlement, you ask? This is an agreement reached between the two parties with regards to the financial split; child contact; living arrangements; child and spousal support; and the payment of bills and loans. Simply put, every single aspect of your new, separate lives is addressed and figured out so that no issues are left unresolved with regards to moving forward and there is no need for a judge to get involved. A settlement keeps the case out of court. A settlement generally saves you an abundance of cash in the long run. ‘ It will be in your best interest to settle’ . I hope you heard me? Write it on your palm every morning of the divorce. Be reminded every time you look at your palm as you hand over small change for everyday bills, and imagine that small change being hundreds of thousands of rands, going straight to your legal team. It will happen if you begin to run up unnessessary legal bills while waiting for a court date.

There’s also something broadly termed a DIY divorce. This is when you go online and do all of the divorce legwork yourself before handing it over to a lawyer. Obviously, this is cheaper– if the divorce is uncontested, or if you’ve only been married for a short while. It is also perfect if there aren’t any disputes. It is the ideal situation.

Sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money and sometimes you’ve got to look at your situation, be smart and DIY!! Ultimately, if you can avoid the collision of a contested divorce at all, then indicate right, overtake and get on with your life ASAP!


  1. Reply

    New to your blog Morgan and loving your style of writing. Also in the beginning stages of my divorce and already hemorraging money, and seriously contemplating tattooing on my palm ‘Settle. Repeat. Settle.’ Congratulations on your divorce and really hope you’ll continue blogging for us less than lucky souls who are still on the journey x

  2. Reply

    The crappy part is that even if you don’t want the divorce, in the end…. there will be a divorce, it will just cost you more.

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