How to Tell Your Partner You Want a Divorce

Breaking the news about divorce can be a difficult and trying time. This is someone you imagined spending your life with and growing old together. Everyone who has told their partner they want a separation remembers the exact details and moment of when it happened. We oftentimes feel mixed emotions, whereby we still love the person but are no longer in love with them.

Sometimes a partner’s personal problems can also be the trigger for a divorce such as gambling, addictions and behavioural issues. We can try to change our partners but ultimately it lies with them to change.


Telling Your Partner You Are Preparing to Leave

The best outcome in this situation is if both spouses are open and understanding of each other and willing to listen thoughtfully and carefully to one another, however, most of the time this is not the case. One partner, usually the one being left will be dissatisfied and less invested in moving the process forward.

It is imperative that you and your spouse have an open dialogue before things get to this point so you can begin to work on issues before it’s too late. We humans often fear the unknown and for some, it is easier to leave than have difficult conversations.


Telling Your Partner You Want a Trial Separation

How you communicate this to your partner depends on what sort of outcome you want for yourself. Do you want the trial separation to be a pathway to repairing your relationship or as the next step in the divorce process? It is hard to know the answer. Some couples will use this time to reflect on themselves and their marriage others may use it as a way to start preparing their partner for the inevitable.

It can be hard to emotionally, physically and financially prepare for a divorce and separation can help with these feelings. You just need to take one step at a time and find out what YOU really want out of life.

Being Asked or Asking for a Divorce

If your partner is asking you for a divorce, it is important that you discuss your issues at hand and explore options such as counselling, a trial separation if you’re partner is not willing to do these things it is most likely over in their minds and has been for a while.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do in this case to change their mind. If you have children, it is vital that you can accept each other’s decisions and remain amicable with one another.

On the other side, if you are the one that wants a divorce and have exhausted all options and do not see any other choice but divorce it is sometimes easier to just be upfront and tell your partner you do not see it working any longer.

If you 100% know you want a divorce it is also a good idea to maintain boundaries, you do not want to send mixed signals to your potential ex-spouse and give them hope as things can escalate and get messy.

Be Gentle but Firm

How you approach asking for a divorce will determine and shape the way your whole divorce process will work. If you approach a partner with anger and frustration you can expect a similar way in return.

Be as kind and compassionate as you possibly can, use empathy to put yourself in their position and how you would like to be told. The chances of you thinking about divorce has been a lot longer than theirs and thus they will not be as far along the road as you are so be understanding with this.

It is also extremely important you remain strong in your stance if you 100% want a divorce and do not let them persuade or manipulate you into making a decision you do not want.

Timing is Important

Telling your partner you no longer want to be with them is an enormous decision and one that can hurt a person deeply. You want to make sure your partner is emotionally capable of receiving the news. Try not to do it when an important life event is taking place or when they are going through a difficult time.

Try to be patient and wait to announce it when it can be the least damaging to your spouse, families and children especially.

Keep The Right Relations

Ultimately every decision you make is yours and yours alone, however, there are ways we can go about these choices and decisions. If we want to have the right relationship with our children’s other parent we need to go about things in a way that we respect one another and how it will affect the future of our lives.

Being tactful and respectful of how we behave towards our partners can make a huge difference in rebuilding trust and maintaining a healthy friendship between two parties. Your words and actions have a huge effect on those around you.

Ultimately when we ask the question, What is the best way to ask for a divorce? There is no easy or simple answer. We are all individual humans with different outlooks and life experiences as well as different relationships.

The only thing we can advise is to make yourself happy and make sure your children are looked after. We all live one life and we want to experience that life to the fullest.

Thank you for reading and until next time.

Divorce during Covid

A Look At Divorce During Covid

2020 has been a difficult year for us all, whether it has been a loss of income or a loss of the ones closest to you. Covid-19 has put a lot of stress on relationships as many people have lost their jobs and stock markets have fluctuated, while some marriages may come out stronger others have resulted in a separation. Let’s talk about how Covid-19 has impacted relationships as well as how the court systems have adjusted to the strenuous time.

When the Corona Virus went worldwide in March many families and couples were anticipating a tough time but also looking forward to spending time with their families and spouses. Businesses and services have slowly started opening up again for the time being, this includes the courts and processing systems.

Law firms describe the current COVID-19 pandemic as a perfect storm with multiple levels of lockdowns and social distancing which causes couples to spend more time together where they would usually be spending time at work or with the kids. It has been a catalyst for separations as daily routines have usually masked the underlying issues in relationships. The reasons for divorce are still the same, whether one partner is unhappy with the situation or things at home are not getting better, COVID-19 just bought it into focus now.

Many divorce attorneys were not surprised by the increase in divorce applications after the first hard lockdown ended, divorces usually spike after families spend a prolonged time together, for example during the festive seasons and school breaks. A leading British law firm called Stewarts has seen that roughly 75% of all divorces have been initiated by female customers, they concluded that this was because of the disproportionate share of domestic work. With both partners working from home, it is expected that both parties will help share the load of housework and child care that needs to be done but the reality was in fact a far cry from that.

Divorce process during covid

Relationship experts have also discovered that even the strongest of couples, who, before COVID-19 had no issues and no problems were now susceptible to divorce. This is mainly because the usual routines and rhythms that offered comfort and stability were now put into disarray. Without these pillars in their life this causes couples to seek other forms of stimulation and support outside of their relationship which might add additional strain.

Newly wedded couples have also come under strain during the pandemic, unfortunately in the early days, they are not equipped with the skills and coping mechanisms that come with 20+ years of marriage and the trials and tribulations that older couples have had to overcome. With a lifestyle that has had to take a back seat and the complete opposite perception of what a happy married life entails.

Money is already a big issue when it comes to divorce rates, the pandemic only added to the increased pressure with loss of income from both partners with some even being retrenched. Money increases the strain on the personal relationships of the partners with having to prioritise spending when previously it was not a problem. Being retrenched can also have mental side effects and a loss of self-esteem from one or more partners. This is especially true in men, whereby the ego will take a beating and self-worth will be lowered. This can manifest in many ways such as anger, frustration, and anxiety.

Unlike other crises that our country has seen the pandemic has hit entertainment, tourism, and leisure workers the hardest which are already low-income sectors for employees. These employees are often the ones who need the money the most and with very little savings. This has caused a huge influx of separation in low-income families who often opt for uncontested divorces to save themselves money that often comes with a contested divorce.

Many divorce attorneys, including SKV, have seen an increase in spouses that are “gathering information” for when they are in a more secure place to go through with a divorce, Stewart’s law firm in the UK states that they have been inundated with requests for information and how they will proceed with divorce; what are the consequences, costs, and processes.

One positive that the pandemic has bought about is that people are now starting to re-evaluate their lives and are having an introspective look at exactly what they want out of life. Whether it be a change of lifestyle, possibly moving countries, or just being closer to their families. The pressures of the pandemic have reminded us that life is short are we need to evaluate how and with whom we spend our little time remaining.

Depending on what divorce you and your spouse of opted for, it would change the process. There are two types of divorces, uncontested and contested divorces. In the case of an uncontested divorce, the courts have allowed the parties to not appear in court or appear in an online session where the divorce will more than likely be granted unless there are some pertinent issues. SKV Attorneys can help you with the process of an uncontested divorce in an easy and effective manner.

Contested divorces are slightly different as there is a lot more deliberation and discussions taking place. Many firms including SKV allow our clients to converse over a Skype or Zoom meeting to make it as safe as possible. Courts are also allowing online sessions to help stop the spread whereas previously this was not the case. We might just be seeing a whole new way of divorces being conducted.

In conclusion, the pandemic has hit us all hard, from low-income families to newlyweds. If you are thinking about separating from your spouse during this time please do not hesitate to contact us. We are available for queries and questions regarding divorce. Please stay safe and look after your loved ones.


Unmarried Parents and Parenting Plans

Unmarried parents are a stark reality in our modern society and South African society is no different. Many of these relationships fail and with such failure and separation the arrangements surrounding a minor child born from such a relationship become a serious bone of contention.

The inevitable question(s) surrounding such arrangements arise early after the breakdown of a relationship between unmarried parents, ie. how to go about ensuring the arrangements are in place, whom to approach, what to do regarding maintenance, visitation and encompassing rights towards a minor child, and when to do so.

The first port of call is to ascertain the responsibilities and rights of unmarried fathers.  In doing so we consult the Children’s Act, Act 38 of 2005 (hereinafter referred to as “the Children’s Act”). Specifically section 21 of the Children’s Act, which endeavours to resolve the issues surrounding parental responsibilities and rights of unmarried fathers.

Section 21 sets out certain requirements that have to be met by an unmarried father before he is allowed to acquire the same parental responsibilities and rights towards a minor child as the biological mother (whom, acquires these parental responsibilities and rights automatically without having to adhere to specified requirements).


The requirements for an unmarried father to acquire full parental responsibilities and rights towards a minor child are not as straightforward as one may think. The requirements for an unmarried father to automatically acquire parental responsibilities and rights towards a minor child are listed as follows in the Children’s Act:


  1. “if at the time of the child’s birth he is living with the mother in a permanent life-partnership; or
  2. if he, regardless of whether he has lived or is living with the mother– i. consents to be identified or successfully applies in terms of section 26 to be identified as the child’s father or pays damages in terms of customary law;
    1. contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute to the child’s upbringing for a reasonable period, and
    2. contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute towards expenses in connection with the maintenance of the child for a reasonable period.”

However, it is important to note that the requirements are not cumulative, as was held in the High Court case of GM v KI 2015 (3) SA 62 (GJ), in which matter the High Court stated that an unmarried father can acquire parental responsibilities and rights by contributing to his child’s maintenance, which, in itself, indicated that the court does not consider the requirements to be cumulative. Therefore, it can be argued that if anyone of the requirements are met the unmarried father will automatically acquire full parental responsibilities and rights toward a minor child.

If a dispute should arise between the unmarried parents regarding their parental responsibilities and rights they must be extremely cautious before deciding to approach the Court for the necessary relief sought.

Unmarried parents are usually unaware of section 21(3) of the Children’s Act which governs disputes between them. This section not only requires but makes it compulsory for unmarried parents to first attempt mediation specific to the issues between them, they may not approach the Court as the first resort for resolution. However, this section does not diminish the High Court’s powers as the upper guardian of all minor children, and therefore either party may, if it is in the best interest of a minor child, approach the Court without having engaged in mediation.

An unmarried father may, if it is in the best interest of a minor child, either bring an application to the High Court or approach the Children’s Court in terms of Section 53 of the Children’s Act, especially with regards to vesting his automatically acquired parental responsibilities and rights and/or for access towards his minor child.

Nevertheless, section 21(3) of the Children’s Act compels the unmarried parents to attempt mediation, it follows that from such mediation a parenting plan is usually formulated.

Consequently, sections 33 to 35 of the Children’s Act deal with the specific content of a parenting plan.

The parenting plan may include various and several co-parenting issues in contention between the parties, however, section 33(3) of the Children’s Act briefly mentions the following determinations:

“3. A parenting plan may determine any matter in connection with parental responsibilities and rights, including–

  1. where and with whom the child is to live;
  2. the maintenance of the child;
  3. contact between the child and–
    1. any of the parties; and
    2. any other person; and
  4. the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.”

The parenting plan aims to resolve issues surrounding arrangements for a minor child and meticulously outlines the exercise of the unmarried parents’ co-parental responsibilities and rights.

It is important to point out that section 33(2) echoes section 21(3) of the Children’s Act in that it also discourages parties from approaching the Court as a first resort for their co-parenting issues, yet section 33(2) differs in that it provides as a solution that parties first seek to agree to a parenting plan.

In the event that unmarried parents are either certain or remain sceptical that mediation as envisaged in section 21(3) of the Children’s Act would come to nought, it is a point to remember that before approaching Court, it is advisable to approach a legal representative to draw up a parenting plan as per sections 33 to 35 of the Children’s Act. What such action would achieve is that the draft parenting plan may be proposed to the other parent for their consideration, and amendments and/or negotiations regarding such a draft may be attended to expertly drafted, well-advised and in strict accordance with the law, to avoid any unnecessary litigation and/or issues in future.

Agreeing to a parenting plan is highly advantageous to unmarried fathers, as such agreements will vest their parental responsibilities and rights in a non-litigious manner, which is in the best interest of a minor child.

Where parties have agreed to a parenting plan, they may approach the Court to have such a parenting plan made an Order of Court, which is highly advisable to do for the purpose of the enforcement thereof.

Jealousy in Marriage

Factors to Consider During a Divorce

It is proven that there is a spike in divorce during tough economic times.

Tough times makes for tough relationships, finances are one of the main stresses on a relationship and a lot of fights begin with money problems. There may be a chance that this issue could ultimately be the protection of a marriage. Two households are always more expensive than one but pay attention to the signs your marriage could be headed for a divorce. If you are in a relationship where you feel unloved, unappreciated and lonely then its time to consider a change if possible.

Too many people get into relationships without having any idea of the other person’s financial situation and that causes huge problems down the line for some. For this reason, all couples should consider drawing up a pre-nuptual agreement. Even a serious discussion about your assets, earning potential and financial expectations should be in line with one another’s goals.

Divorce Factors

Marriage is hard and it is even harder when you are facing monetary problems.


Is infidelity the real issue?

This is usually a sign that the relationship is already on the rocks. It is normally indicative of deeper issues.

In most cases divorce courts really do not care who is at fault for the breakdown of the relationship, usually the court doesn’t even want to know who did what to whom. This won’t affect the court’s decision about money, spousal support, or custody, unless it specifically impacts the well-being of the kids.

Any time you’re tempted to write an angry text or an incensed email, consider how it will sound if read aloud in front of a courtroom full of people. Anything that is put in writing can be used against you. Even if your rants don’t end up in front of a judge they could be read by your kids someday, which could feel worse.

Divorce is not necessarily about punishment

It’s easy to look at divorce to make your spouse pay literally and figuratively but exacting your revenge is not the point. Some people may want their spouse to experience consequences or repercussions from the bad things that were done but the divorce courts are not for punishment but rather to divide assets and set custody. That’s it.

infidelity in marriage

Do not punish your partner or children for what has gone wrong with the marriage, instead try fix them or end this amicably.

Young children can be marriage breakers

Children add a tremendous strain and responsibility during a time of life that can already be challenging, this. Your children can either bring you closer together or drive you apart. Staying together for the sake of children is admirable but ultimately it will not be a healthy environment if there is no love between the parents.

Divorce is tough no matter how long you have been together.

It’s not how young or old you were when you were married but it’s about recognising that the issue of trying to blend two established lives both have benefits and trials. Having decided that divorce is the best option remember its not a life sentence, it’s a fresh start and doing this amicably can only be beneficial if there are children involved.

Issues that need to be resolved before consulting a lawyer

Spouses need to agree on issues like death, disease, employment, family and location. People often prefer to avoid difficult conversations with their partner. But failing to speak frankly about these issues means you will have to face them at a later stage and you will be unprepared. Knowing what you will do about important issues before they are a problem is a big step to staying saving money on legal advice and interventions.

People change, for better or worse

It may seem obvious but so many of us think that the person we married is going to stay the same forever and we end up surprised when this does not happen. Some changes improve people while others will not get accustomed. Surprisingly both types of change have landed couples in a divorce court. To save yourself this kind of pain, learn to be flexible and accepting of change, even if you don’t like it at first. It takes two people to get into a relationship and it takes at least that many to make it end. People who think their marriage problems are solely the fault of their partner are delusional and doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

Good advice is to marry the person you’re with, not the person you hope they will one day become. People often go into a relationship confident that they can change the other person. This is a common reason people end up in a divorce court. Yet it can be really hard to leave, so either learn to love that person or let them go.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, there are a multitude of things to consider when going through or considering a divorce. If you need someone to talk to during this time of divorce. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with SKV.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Do I need A divorce lawyer

Why Do I Need A Divorce Attorney?

When it comes to divorces, most people want to get it done as quickly as possible. Whilst it is possible to acquire a divorce without a lawyer this does not mean you should. Depending on your situation prior to your divorce should be a deciding factor on whether you need an attorney or not.

Do I need a divorce attorney

Going through a divorce without an attorney is entirely possible but it is not recommended as there are many facets to divorce that the layman is unaware of.

Whenever children are involved, you may need a lawyer to assist you with custodial issues. Remember that it is always in the best interest of the child that the law will act upon.

If you have assets to be divided or require spousal support you will definitely benefit from a lawyer.
Be sure that you listen to the right advice and make no mistakes when filing for a divorce, that is why a lawyer is the best way to protect your interests. Should you find that you are both in agreement please note that even the most agreeable couples can hit roadblocks during the settlement process so be prepared to consider hiring an attorney if that happens.

If you are not happy with the initial deal you entered into or agreed to something you did not understand then your only recourse will be to go back to court to try to change the final order. Undoing an agreement by the divorce court is difficult and usually only allowed under limited circumstances.

Another consideration is when hiring a consulting attorney who will review the proposed settlement before you sign it. Remember you will be bound by any court order that is signed off by a judge.

Although you may be reluctant to hire a lawyer to remember that divorce lawyers know the law and how to complete the legal paperwork.

Remember an attorney will not advocate for a trial unless your spouse is uncooperative. Most attorneys will attempt to resolve the case as quickly as possible while advocating for their clients.

Protect Yourself

In cases of family abuse there the best advice is to hire an attorney to protect your rights. A fair negotiation is impossible should there be an imbalance of power between partners.

Although you might feel like you can represent yourself in your divorce, when one party has an attorney and the other doesn’t, it often results in the unrepresented party walking away without a fair deal. We advise that you hire an attorney and level the playing field.

Although no divorce is pleasant, some are complicated, especially if the other party in your case is hiding assets, destroying property, wasting marital funds, or threatening you with financial ruin. If you find that you can’t work with your spouse, hiring a qualified attorney to represent you may be your only option. Not only will the attorney advocate for your rights throughout the divorce, but there’s also no question that you will feel some relief from the stress of your divorce knowing that you have someone in your corner.

Unequitable Results

Unequitable results often arise from divorces where each spouse is neither aware of what he or she is entitled to from the marriage nor represented by a divorce lawyer. The role of an attorney in a divorce proceeding is to make sure the end result is fair to his or her client – a necessity when one party is less educated or not as financially well off compared to the other.

No matter the size of the family or marital estate, it’s common for spouses to feel hostile toward one another or upset over the end of their marriage. These feelings can cloud an individual’s judgment and make it harder for the parties to agree on matters themselves.

If extramarital affairs or other issues occurred during the marriage, feelings of anger and resentment can make it difficult for an individual to handle the objective portions of the divorce on his or her own. Instead, an attorney can maintain a clear head, fight to uphold your rights, and help you stay on a path that’s best for your future.


Children are often the most important aspect of a divorce and it is important for you to protect them and yourself.

Feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can protect your rights as a parent.

Examples of Brutal Divorce Tactics

Draining the joint bank account. Your shared bank account is an asset that you both rely on. When suddenly the money is funneled into a different account, one that excludes the other party, bills that are normally set on auto-pay will bounce and other expenses will likely require attention. This forces the victim of the theft to not only spend time straightening out the bills on their own but will also leave them in financial dependence on the other person.
Maxing out shared credit lines. Hiring attorneys and making arrangements surrounding a divorce all require money, which leaves many people to use credit until their decree is finalized and alimony and other payments begin. When one partner uses your joint credit cards to stock up on personal items or make large purchases, it will leave the other person with few other options. Usually, this is a bait-and-switch maneuver: one spouse will agree in court to take on the existing debt, unaware that there have been (many) new charges.
Refusal to support the household until ordered to do so. This is one of the steps in a routine called “starve out the other spouse.” The primary earner of the marriage retaliates after moving out of the family home and subsequently stops providing for the household. The goal is to put the other spouse in a financial position where he or she, out of desperation, will accept an unfair settlement.
Waiting to deliver support payments. If there is no income withholding order, a spouse may wait until the latest possible day to pay support money, even if they have the money to send. In some states, support doesn’t become delinquent until it’s 30 days past due; there is no recourse for the other spouse until the 31st day after the payment was ordered.
Petition the court for primary custody (even though the plan is to have joint custody). Perhaps you both tentatively agree on terms of shared custody or lenient visitation. By petitioning for primary custody, that spouse intends to strike fear into their ex in order to get them to concede on a different issue altogether.
Refuse to speak with the other side. Discussing terms of the divorce privately is imperative to having a conflict-free divorce. By refusing to meet and compromise, they intend to create conflict, increase legal fees, and wear the other side down. It can also cause a serious break in parent-child ties if the non-custodial parent doesn’t get to see the children because he or she can’t set up any parenting time.
File a bogus petition. One spouse may file petitions simply to take advantage of the court’s bureaucracy in order to drag out the proceedings. They may be dismissed, but it will add to the amount of time spent in court, which can disrupt the other spouse’s life in many ways—financial and otherwise.

These are just a few of the sneaky things that can and have happened in divorces. They are sometimes successful but are very destructive to any meaningful and fair settlement negotiations. In addition, the residual bitterness after the divorce could hamper you and your ex-spouse’s ability to effectively co-parent your children. What’s more, they often lead to post-divorce legal proceedings that may cost additional, unnecessary legal fees. Don’t get caught up in the charades—it is best for the entire family to settle fairly and without high-profile tricks.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, divorce is hard to go through it is even harder if you have to do it by yourself! Here at SKV we believe in looking after our clients and their best interests so do not hesitate to get in touch with us to help with any divorce proceedings.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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