If you file for divorce in a country other than South Africa, you must register your divorce with Home Affairs.
International or overseas divorce is a term referring to one that was issued in a foreign country rather than in South Africa.
How To Register a Foreign Divorce at Home Affairs
No application is necessary to register a foreign divorce at Home Affairs. However, you must submit certain documents to the Department of Home Affairs. These are a letter of request, certified copies of documents, certified translation to English of a foreign divorce order, and an affidavit of special power of attorney if someone other than you submits the documents.
When a South African citizen files for divorce in another country, it’s critical that the divorce be registered with the South African Department of Home Affairs.
Many individuals are unaware that there’s no official application for the registration of a foreign divorce in South Africa, especially for those who filed for divorce in another country.
The only method to change the marital status on the National Population Register is to accomplish this task.
Furthermore, because a foreign divorce was issued in a foreign country rather than in South Africa, the divorce isn’t the same as an international divorce granted in South Africa.
It’s a relatively simple process to file a foreign divorce at Home Affairs for the first time. Here are a few things to bear in mind if you wish to get through the procedure smoothly.
What Are the Requirements When Registering a Foreign Divorce?
Generally, there’s no application necessary, but the process will require the following documents that you need to submit to the Department of Home Affairs:
- A letter requesting the foreign divorce be registered.
- Certified copies of both ex-spouses’ passports and/or identification cards
- A certified copy of the foreign divorce order
- A certified translation of the foreign divorce order (if the foreign divorce order isn’t in English)
- Affidavit of special power of attorney (if an attorney or third party submits the documents on your behalf)
How Much Does It Cost to Register for a Foreign Divorce?
The Department of Home Affairs will charge no fee. You should consult with an attorney before submitting the paperwork on your behalf. The attorney will charge a fee for their service in such cases.
How Long Will It Take to Complete the Process?
Depending on the queues of people waiting, submitting the required paperwork at the Department of Home Affairs only takes a few minutes. However, the employees could keep you waiting for months while they register the foreign divorce and amend the parties’ information on their system.
If you employ an attorney to handle the filing, you must regularly keep in touch with the Department of Home Affairs.
A marriage is a legal contract that ties two people together.
Unfortunately, when unfortunate events lead to divorce, South African citizens who apply for divorce in a foreign country must take the appropriate steps to register the divorce.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) grants registration for a foreign divorce in South Africa.
Foreign divorce must be registered in the country, whether in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, or Pretoria, since the marriage status must be updated because the marriage contract has been invalidated.
Under What Circumstances Can a Divorce Be Granted in South Africa?
- Every individual who was lawfully married has the right to file for a divorce if they can prove to a court of law the following:
- The spouse is mentally ill or is chronically unconscious.
- They have differences that cause difficulties in living together, and there’s no hope of addressing them.
- If one spouse doesn’t wish to divorce, the other party can file for divorce in a court of law without their consent.
- A marriage can be annulled under special circumstances. Marriage annulment differs from divorce in that it not only dissolves the marriage but also removes it from the public record.
To summarize, those who want to file for divorce need to have a summons delivered as the first step. The sheriff of the court will personally serve the divorce summons on the defendant.
Individuals seeking to file for a divorce in South Africa can divorce in the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court having jurisdiction in their area or the High Court, regardless of location, whether in Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, or Johannesburg.
Unlike in other countries, legal separation isn’t permitted in South Africa, even if a couple is living apart without a formal divorce. The pair is still legally married, according to the law.
Final Thoughts on How to Register a Foreign Divorce at Home Affairs
The divorce process can be a challenging ordeal for many individuals, but if you’re a South African citizen, you need to take into consideration an extra measure. If you file for divorce in another country, you must notify the Department of Home Affairs of your new marital status.
Although there’s no official registration process, notify the department of your divorce as soon as possible.
If it’s your first time going through the process, it’s a relatively straightforward one.
The valuable pointers above will be enormous as they’ll easily serve as your guide in registering for a foreign divorce at Home Affairs.