Spousal support/alimony

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The Spousal support/alimony process

  • Provides financial security for ex-spouse.
  • Considers contribution to marriage equally.
  • Helps maintain standard of living.
  • Supports dependent spouse to recover.
  • Can be adjusted as circumstances change.
  • Encourages fair division of assets.

What is Spousal support/alimony?

In South African law, spousal support, or alimony, is a financial arrangement where one spouse is obliged to support the other financially after divorce or separation. This is not an automatic right, and the courts will consider various factors to determine whether alimony is warranted and, if so, how much should be paid and for how long.

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FAQ for Spousal Support/Alimony

What is spousal support/alimony?

Spousal support/alimony is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a former spouse after a divorce or separation. This support is usually paid by the spouse with a higher income to the spouse with a lower income.

Who is entitled to spousal support/alimony?

The spouse who is entitled to spousal support/alimony is usually the one who earns less than the other spouse or who may have given up their career to support the marriage and/or family. However, entitlement to spousal support/alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the divorce or separation.

How is spousal support/alimony calculated?

The calculation of spousal support/alimony is based on various factors, including the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of both spouses, their standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of both spouses, and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage.

How long does spousal support/alimony last?

The duration of spousal support/alimony depends on the specific circumstances of the divorce or separation. In South Africa, spousal support/alimony may be awarded for a specific period of time or until the death of the recipient or their remarriage or cohabitation with another partner.

Can spousal support/alimony be modified or terminated?

Spousal support/alimony may be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in the circumstances of either spouse, such as a change in income, health, or living arrangements. However, any modification or termination must be approved by a court.

What happens if the spouse ordered to pay spousal support/alimony does not pay?

If the spouse ordered to pay spousal support/alimony does not pay, the recipient may take legal action to enforce the court order. This may include garnishing the delinquent spouse's wages, seizing their assets, or taking other legal measures to collect the unpaid support.

Do I need a lawyer to obtain spousal support/alimony?

While it is possible to obtain spousal support/alimony without a lawyer, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice to ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce or separation process. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance and assistance in negotiating a fair and equitable spousal support/alimony agreement.

Family Lawyers in South Africa specialize in laws relating to family matters and domestic relations. They handle a broad range of cases, including marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, and other family-related issues. Their practice is guided by legislation such as the Divorce Act 70 of 19791, the Children's Act 38 of 20052, and the Maintenance Act 99 of 19983. These lawyers provide legal advice, negotiate on behalf of clients, and represent them in court proceedings. They are regulated by the Legal Practice Council4.

  1. Divorce Act 70 of 1979 ↩
  2. Children's Act 38 of 2005 ↩
  3. Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 ↩
  4. Legal Practice Council ↩
    , Divorce lawyers in South Africa handle legal matters related to the dissolution of marriages and the associated legal issues such as spousal support, child custody, and division of assets. Divorce law in South Africa is primarily governed by the Divorce Act of 1979. This act provides the legal framework for divorce proceedings and the resolution of related matters. The Law Society of South Africa, along with its provincial branches, oversees and provides guidance to divorce lawyers. To find more information about divorce law and the Law Society of South Africa, you can visit the following links:
  5. Divorce Act: https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/1979-070.pdf
  6. Law Society of South Africa: https://www.lssa.org.za/

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