Any South African citizen that was married and got divorced must have a copy of their divorce decree. It is an essential document that is required as part of many legal processes. If you do not currently have a copy of your divorce decree, Apostil.co.za can help you obtain a fully legal, High Court stamped certificate/copy, provided you have information about your divorce.
What is a divorce decree, and why do I need one?
A Decree of Divorce is essentially a summary of your divorce settlement. It proves that your divorce was finalised in a South African High Court. This certificate is the front page of your divorce settlement, stamped and signed by the High Court where the decree was issued. Sometimes, this is called a decree absolute or final divorce order.
Obtaining a copy of your divorce decree is a complicated matter if you misplaced the original document. Divorce decrees are also not obtainable online since applications for copies of these documents must be made at the High Court.
To quickly obtain a copy of your divorce decree, you must have details on when and where the divorce was finalised. While it is true that we have helped clients that did not have information on their case number, exact date, and court where the divorce was finalised, the process becomes exceptionally lengthy and pricey without these vital pieces of information. Although a few High Courts in South Africa have very well organised archives, not all of them do, making the retrieval of your documents much harder without basic details.
Furthermore, for those divorces that took place long ago (usually prior to 2000), the physical paper files have been archived in off-site storage, making it very challenging to obtain the documentation. It requires two applications and a much longer wait.
How long does the process take?
Critically important: Apostil.co.za has an excellent success rate as far as obtaining divorce decrees are concerned. However, there are rare instances where documents are missing from the High Court archives. Sadly, when this happens, there is nothing anyone can do to help you obtain a copy of your divorce decree.
There are also instances where files are relocated to different courts or off-site storage facilities. This can also significantly delay the process. In this event, an application must be lodged with the Department of Justice. The additional step in the process will incur extra costs and add at least three months to the timeline.
How can I get a copy of my divorce decree?
Apostil.co.za can assist 80-90% of all our clients with obtaining copies of their divorce decrees. This is because we work with all 14 High Courts of South Africa.
To obtain a copy of this document on your behalf, you must supply us with as much information as possible. The more information we have, the faster we can retrieve your file from the archives.
In order for us to help you obtain your decree of divorce, we need the following information:
- Divorce case number
- Court where the divorce was finalised (mandatory – information required)
- Date (day, month, and year) of the divorce
- Names and ID numbers of the plaintiff and defendant (you and your ex-spouse)
Once your file has been retrieved from the archives, a copy of the official document is made. The copy is also stamped by the High Court. If you plan to use the document in a member country of the Hague Convention, the document can also be apostilled for legal use abroad.
What are the costs involved?
The costs for these services vary and depend on how urgently you need the document and how much information you have about the divorce proceedings. Please get in touch with Apostil.co.za right away via email or phone to find out how we can assist you with obtaining a copy of your divorce decree.