Divorce Act, 1979

This is the latest version of this Act.
South Africa

Divorce Act, 1979

Act 70 of 1979

  1. [Amended by Matrimonial Property Act, 1984 (Act 88 of 1984) on 1 November 1984]
  2. [Amended by Transfer of Powers and Duties of the State President Act, 1986 (Act 97 of 1986) on 3 October 1986]
  3. [Amended by Marriage and Matrimonial Property Law Amendment Act, 1988 (Act 3 of 1988) on 2 December 1988]
  4. [Amended by Divorce Amendment Act, 1989 (Act 7 of 1989) on 1 August 1989]
  5. [Amended by Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act, 1987 (Act 24 of 1987) on 1 October 1990]
  6. [Amended by Divorce Amendment Act, 1992 (Act 44 of 1992) on 15 April 1992]
  7. [Amended by Domicile Act, 1992 (Act 3 of 1992) on 1 August 1992]
  8. [Amended by Divorce Amendment Act, 1996 (Act 95 of 1996) on 22 November 1996]
  9. [Amended by Justice Laws Rationalisation Act, 1996 (Act 18 of 1996) on 1 April 1997]
  10. [Amended by Divorce Courts Amendment Act, 1997 (Act 65 of 1997) on 6 April 1998]
  11. [Amended by Films and Publications Act, 1996 (Act 65 of 1996) on 1 June 1998]
  12. [Amended by Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act, 2003 (Act 55 of 2003) on 31 March 2005]
  13. [Amended by Jurisdiction of Regional Courts Amendment Act, 2008 (Act 31 of 2008) on 9 August 2010]
  14. [Amended by Judicial Matters Amendment Act, 2020 (Act 12 of 2020) on 22 October 2020]
  15. [Amended by Divorce Amendment Act, 2024 (Act 1 of 2024) on 14 May 2024]
(Afrikaans text signed by the Acting State President)ACTTo amend the law relating to divorce and to provide for incidental matters.BE IT ENACTED by the State President, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:—

1. Definitions

(1)In this Act, unless inconsistent with the context—"court" means any High Court as contemplated in section 166 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, or a court for a regional division contemplated in section 29(1B) of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944), which has jurisdiction with respect to a divorce action;[definition of "court" substituted by section 4 of Act 65 of 1997 and by section 10(2) of Act 31 of 2008]"divorce action" means an action by which a decree of divorce or other relief in connection therewith is applied for, and includes—(a)an application pendente life for an interdict or for the interim custody of, or access to, a minor child of the marriage concerned or for the payment of maintenance; or(b)an application for a contribution towards the costs of such action or to institute such action, or make such application, in forma pauperis, or for the substituted service of process in, or the edictal citation of a party to, such action or such application;"Muslim marriage" means a marriage entered into or concluded in accordance with the tenets of Islam;[definition of "Muslim marriage" inserted by section 1 of Act 1 of 2024]"pension fund" means a pension fund as defined in section 1(1) of the Pension Funds Act, 1956 (Act No. 24 of 1956), irrespective of whether the provisions of that Act apply to the pension fund or not;[definition of "pension fund" added by section 1 of Act 7 of 1989]"pension interest", in relation to a party to a divorce action who-(a)is a member of a pension fund (excluding a retirement annuity fund), means the benefits to which that party as such a member would have been entitled in terms of the rules of that fund if his membership of the fund would have been terminated on the date of the divorce on account of his resignation from his office;(b)is a member of a retirement annuity fund which was bona fide established for the purpose of providing life annuities for the members of the fund, and which is a pension fund, means the total amount of that party's contributions to the fund up to the date of the divorce, together with a total amount of annual simple interest on those contributions up to that date, calculated at the same rate as the rate prescribed as at that date by the Minister of Justice in terms of section 1(2) of the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act, 1975 (Act No. 55 of 1975), for the purposes of that Act;[definition of "pension interest" added by section 1 of Act 7 of 1989]"rules", in relation to a pension fund, means rules as defined in section 1(1) of the Pension Funds Act, 1956.[definition of "rules" added by section 1 of Act 7 of 1989]
(2)For the purposes of this Act a divorce action shall be deemed to be instituted on the date on which the summons is issued or the notice of motion is filed or the notice is delivered in terms of the rules of court, as the case may be.

2. Jurisdiction

(1)A court shall have jurisdiction in a divorce action if the parties are or either of the parties is—
(a)domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted; or
(b)ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the said date and have or has been ordinarily resident in the Republic for a period of not less than one year immediately prior to that date.
[subsection (1) substituted by section 6(a) of Act 3 of 1992]
(2)A court which has jurisdiction in terms of subsection (1) shall also have jurisdiction in respect of a claim in reconvention or a counter-application in the divorce action concerned.[subsection (2) amended by section 6(b) of Act 3 of 1992]
(3)A court which has jurisdiction in terms of this section in a case where the parties are or either of the parties is not domiciled in the Republic shall determine any issue in accordance with the law which would have been applicable had the parties been domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the court concerned on the date on which the divorce action was instituted.[subsection (3) substituted by section 6(c) of Act 3 of 1992]
(4)The provisions of this Act shall not derogate from the jurisdiction which a court has in terms of any other law or the common law.

3. Dissolution of marriage and grounds of divorce

A marriage, including a Muslim marriage, may be dissolved by a court by a decree of divorce and the only grounds on which such a decree may be granted are—
(a)the irretrievable break-down of the marriage as contemplated in section 4;
(b)the mental illness or the continuous unconsciousness, as contemplated in section 5, of a party to the marriage.
[section 3 amended by section 2 of Act 1 of 2024]

4. Irretrievable break-down of marriage as ground of divorce

(1)A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground of the irretrievable break-down of a marriage if it is satisfied that the marriage relationship between the parties to the marriage has reached such a state of disintegration that there is no reasonable prospect of the restoration of a normal marriage relationship between them.
(2)Subject to the provisions of subsection (1), and without excluding any facts or circumstances which may be indicative of the irretrievable break-down of a marriage, the court may accept evidence—
(a)that the parties have not lived together as husband and wife for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to the date of the institution of the divorce action;
(b)that the defendant has committed adultery and that the plaintiff finds it irreconcilable with a continued marriage relationship; or
(c)that the defendant has in terms of a sentence of a court been declared an habitual criminal and is undergoing imprisonment as a result of such sentence,
as proof of the irretrievable break-down of a marriage,
(3)If it appears to the court that there is a reasonable possibility that the parties may become reconciled through marriage counsel, treatment or reflection, the court may postpone the proceedings in order that the parties may attempt a reconcilation.
(4)Where a divorce action which is not defended is postponed in terms of subsection (3), the court may direct that the action be tried de novo, on the date of resumption thereof, by any other judge of the court concerned.

5. Mental illness or continuous unconsciousness as grounds of divorce

(1)A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground of the mental illness of the defendant if it is satisfied—
(a)that the defendant in terms of the Mental Health Act, 1973 (Act No. 18 of 1973)—
(i)has been admitted as a patient to an institution in terms of a reception order;
(ii)is being detained as a State patient at an institution or other place specified by the Minister of Correctional Services; or[sub-paragraph (ii) amended by section 4 of Act 18 of 1996]
(iii)is being detained as a mentally ill convicted prisoner at an institution, and that he has, for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action, not been discharged unconditionally as such a patient, State patient or mentally ill prisoner; and[sub-paragraph (iii) amended by section 4 of Act 18 of 1996]
(b)after having heard the evidence of at least two psychiatrists, of whom one shall have been appointed by the court, that the defendant is mentally ill and that there is no reasonable prospect that he will be cured of his mental illness.
(2)A court may grant a decree of divorce on the ground that the defendant is by reason of a physical disorder in a state of continuous unconsciousness, if it is satisfied—
(a)that the defendant’s unconsciousness has lasted for a continuous period of at least six months immediately prior to the institution of the divorce action; and
(b)after having heard the evidence of at least two medical practitioners, of whom one shall be a neurologist or a neurosurgeon appointed by the court, that there is no reasonable prospect that the defendant will regain consciousness.
(3)The court may appoint a legal practitioner to represent the defendant at proceedings under this section and order the plaintiff to pay the costs of such representation.
(4)The court may make any order it may deem fit with regard to the furnishing of security by the plaintiff in respect of any patrimonial benefits to which the defendant may be entitled by reason of the dissolution of the marriage.
(5)For the purposes of this section the expressions "institution", "mental illness", "patient", "State patient" and "reception order" shall bear the meaning assigned to them in the Mental Health Act, 1973.[section 5 amended by section 4 of Act 18 of 1996]

5A. Refusal to grant divorce

If it appears to a court in divorce proceedings that despite the granting of a decree of divorce by the court the spouses or either one of them will, by reason of the prescripts of their religion or the religion of either one of them, not be free to remarry unless the marriage is also dissolved in accordance with such prescripts or unless a barrier to the remarriage of the spouse concerned is removed, the court may refuse to grant a decree of divorce unless the court is satisfied that the spouse within whose power it is to have the marriage so dissolved or the said barrier so removed, has taken all the necessary steps to have the marriage so dissolved or the barrier to the remarriage of the other spouse removed or the court may make any other order that it finds just.[section 5A inserted by section 1 of Act 95 of 1996]

6. Safeguarding of interests of dependent and minor children

(1)A decree of divorce shall not be granted until the court
(a)is satisfied that the provisions made or contemplated with regard to the welfare of any minor or dependent child of the marriage, including any minor or dependent child of a Muslim marriage, are satisfactory or are the best that can be effected in the circumstances; and[paragraph (a) substituted by section 3(a) of Act 1 of 2024]
(b)if an enquiry is instituted by the Family Advocate in terms of section 4 (1) (a) or (2) (a) of the Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act, 1987, has considered the report and recommendations referred to in the said section 4 (1).
[subsection (1) substituted by section 6 of Act 24 of 1987]
(2)For the purposes of subsection (1) the court may cause any investigation which it may deem necessary, to be carried out and may order any person to appear before it and may order the parties or any one of them to pay the costs of the investigation and appearance.
(3)A court granting a decree of divorce may, in regard to the maintenance of a dependent child of the marriage, including a dependent child of a Muslim marriage, or the custody or guardianship of, or access to, a minor child of the marriage, including a minor child of a Muslim marriage, make any order which it may deem fit, and may in particular, if in its opinion it would be in the interests of such minor child to do so, grant to either parent the sole guardianship (which shall include the power to consent to the marriage of the child) or the sole custody of the minor, and the court may order that, on the predecease of the parent to whom the sole guardianship of the minor is granted, a person other than the surviving parent shall be the guardian of the minor, either jointly with or to the exclusion of the surviving parent.[subsection (3) substituted by section 3(b) of Act 1 of 2024]
(4)For the purposes of this section the court may appoint a legal practitioner to represent a child at the proceedings and may order the parties or any one of them to pay the costs of the representation.

7. Division of assets and maintenance of parties

(1)A court granting a decree of divorce may in accordance with a written agreement between the parties make an order with regard to the division of the assets of the parties or the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other.
(2)In the absence of an order made in terms of subsection (1) with regard to the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other, the court may, having regard to the existing or prospective means of each of the parties, their respective earning capacities, financial needs and obligations, the age of each of the parties, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living of the parties prior to the divorce, their conduct in so far as it may be relevant to the break-down of the marriage, an order in terms of subsection (3) and any other factor which in the opinion of the court should be taken into account, make an order which the court finds just in respect of the payment of maintenance by the one party to the other for any period until the death or remarriage of the party in whose favour the order is given, whichever event may first occur.[subsection (2) substituted by section 36(a) of Act 88 of 1984]
(3)A court granting a decree of divorce in respect of a marriage out of community of property—
(a)entered into before the commencement of the Matrimonial Property Act, 1984, in terms of an antenuptial contract by which community of property, community of profit and loss and accrual sharing in any form are excluded;[Please note: The High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria has declared section 7(3)(a) "inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent that the provision limits the operation of section 7(3) of the Divorce Act to marriages out of community of property entered into before the commencement of the Matrimonial Property Act". See full judgement here: Greyling v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (40023 of 2021) [2022] ZAGPPHC 3 (11 May 2022)]
(b)entered into before the commencement of the Marriage and Matrimonial Property Law Amendment Act, 1988, in terms of section 22(6) of the Black Administration Act, 1927 (Act No. 38 of 1927), as it existed immediately prior to its repeal by the said Marriage and Matrimonial Property Law Amendment Act, 1988; or
(c)entered into in terms of any law applicable in a former homeland, without entering into an antenuptial contract or agreement in terms of such law,
may, subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (6), on application by one of the parties to that marriage, in the absence of any agreement between them regarding the division of their assets, order that such assets, or such part of the assets, of the other party as the court may deem just, be transferred to the first-mentioned.[subsection (3) added by section 36(b) of Act 88 of 1984 and substituted by section 2(a) of Act 3 of 1988 and by section 1 of Act 12 of 2020]
(3A)A court granting a decree of divorce in respect of a Muslim marriage, may, subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (6), on application by one of the parties to that marriage, in the absence of any agreement between them regarding the division of their assets, order that such assets, or such part of the assets, of the other party as the court may deem just, be transferred to the first-mentioned party.[subsection (3A) inserted by section 4(a) of Act 1 of 2024]
(4)An order under subsection (3) or (3A) shall not be granted unless the court is satisfied that it is equitable and just by reason of the fact that the party in whose favour the order is granted, contributed directly or indirectly to the maintenance or increase of the estate of the other party during the subsistence of the marriage, either by the rendering of services, or the saving of expenses which would otherwise have been incurred, or in any other manner.[subsection (4) added by section 36(b) of Act 88 of 1984 and substituted by section 4(b) of Act 1 of 2024]
(5)In the determination of the assets or part of the assets to be transferred as contemplated in subsection (3) or (3A), the court shall, apart from any direct or indirect contribution made by the party concerned to the maintenance or increase of the estate of the other party as contemplated in subsection (4), also take into account—
(a)the existing means and obligations of the parties, including any obligation that a husband to a marriage as contemplated in subsection 3(b) of this section may have in terms of section 22(7) of the Black Administration Act, 1927 (Act No. 38 of 1927);
(aA)any contract or agreement between the parties in a Muslim marriage, where the husband is a spouse in more than one Muslim marriage;[paragraph (aA) inserted by section 4(d) of Act 1 of 2024]
(b)any donation made by one party to the other during the subsistence of the marriage, or which is owing and enforceable in terms of the antenuptial contract concerned;
(c)any order which the court grants under section 9 of this Act or under any other law which affects the patrimonial position of the parties; and
(d)any other factor which should in the opinion of the court be taken into account.
[subsection (5) added by section 36(b) of Act 88 of 1984, substituted by section 2(b) of Act 3 of 1988 and amended by section 4(c) of Act 1 of 2024]
(5A)Refusal to grant divorceIf it appears to a court in divorce proceedings that despite the granting of a decree of divorce by the court the spouses or either one of them will, by reason of the prescripts of their religion or the religion of either one of them, not be free to remarry unless the marriage is also dissolved in accordance with such prescripts or unless a barrier to the remarriage of the spouse concerned is removed, the court may refuse to grant a decree of divorce unless the court is satisfied that the spouse within whose power it is to have the marriage so dissolved or the said barrier so removed, has taken all the necessary steps to have the marriage so dissolved or the barrier to the remarriage of the other spouse removed or the court may make any other order that it finds just.[section (5A) inserted by section 1 of Act 95 of 1996]
(6)A court granting an order under subsection (3) or (3A) may, on application by the party against whom the order is granted, order that satisfaction of the order be deferred on such conditions, including conditions relating to the furnishing of security, the payment of interest, the payment of instalments, and the delivery or transfer of specified assets, as the court may deem just.[subsection (6) added by section 36(b) of Act 88 of 1984 and substituted by section 4(e) of Act 1 of 2024]
(7)
(a)In the determination of the patrimonial benefits to which the parties to any divorce action may be entitled, the pension interest of a party shall, subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), be deemed to be part of his assets.
(b)The amount so deemed to be part of a party's assets, shall be reduced by any amount of his pension interest which, by virtue of paragraph (a), in a previous divorce-
(i)was paid over or awarded to another party; or
(ii)for the purposes of an agreement contemplated in subsection (1), was accounted in favour of another party.
(c)Paragraph (a) shall not apply to a divorce action in respect of a marriage out of community of property entered into on or after 1 November 1984 in terms of an antenuptial contract by which community of property, community of profit and loss and the accrual system are excluded.
[subsection (7) added by section 2 of Act 7 of 1989]
(8)Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law or of the rules of any pension fund-
(a)the court granting a decree of divorce in respect of a member of such a fund, may make an order that-
(i)any part of the pension interest of that member which, by virtue of subsection (7), is due or assigned to the other party to the divorce action concerned, shall be paid by that fund to that other party when any pension benefits accrue in respect of that member;
(ii)the registrar of the court in question forthwith notify the fund concerned that an endorsement be made in the records of that fund that that part of the pension interest concerned is so payable to that other party and that the administrator of the pension fund furnish proof of such endorsement to the registrar, in writing, within one month of receipt of such notification;[subparagraph (ii) substituted by section 11 of Act 55 of 2003]
(b)any law which applies in relation to the reduction, assignment, transfer, cession, pledge, hypothecation or attachment of the pension benefits, or any right in respect thereof, in that fund, shall apply mutatis mutandis with regard to the right of that other party in respect of that part of the pension interest concerned.
[subsection (8) added by section 2 of Act 7 of 1989]
(9)When a court grants a decree of divorce in respect of a marriage the patrimonial consequences of which are according to the rules of the South African private international law governed by the law of a foreign state, the court shall have the same power as a competent court of the foreign state concerned would have had at that time to order that assets be transferred from one spouse to the other spouse.[subsection (9) added by section 1 of Act 44 of 1992]

8. Rescission, suspension or variation of orders

(1)Any candidate attorney who has satisfied all the requirements for the degree referred to in paragraph (a) of section 2(1), or for the degrees referred to in paragraph (aA) of that section, or for a degree or degrees referred to in paragraph (aB) of that section in respect of which a certification in accordance with that paragraph has been done, shall be entitled to appear in any court, other than High Court, and before any board, tribunal or similar institution in or before which his or her principal is entitled to appear, instead of and on behalf of such principal who shall be entitled to charge the fees for such appearance as if he or she himself or herself had appeared: Provided that such a candidate attorney shall not be entitled to appear in a court of a regional division established under section 2 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944), unless he or she—
(i)has previously practised as an advocate for at least a year; or
(ii)has served for at least one year under his articles or contract of service; or
(iii)has at least one year's experience as a state advocate, state prosecutor or magistrate.
[subsection (1) substituted by section 7 of Act 24 of 198 and section 10(2) of Act 31 of 2008]
(2)A court other than the court which made an order referred to in subsection (1) may rescind, vary or suspend such order if the parties are domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of such first-mentioned court or the applicant is domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of such first-mentioned court and the respondent consents to the jurisdiction of that court.
(3)The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) shall mutatis mutandis apply with reference to any order referred to in subsection (1) given by a court in a divorce action before the commencement of this Act.

9. Forfeiture of patrimonial benefits of marriage

(1)When a decree of divorce is granted on the ground of the irretrievable break-down of a marriage, including a Muslim marriage, the court may make an order that the patrimonial benefits of the marriage be forfeited by one party in favour of the other, either wholly or in part, if the court, having regard to the duration of the marriage, the circumstances which gave rise to the break-down thereof and any substantial misconduct on the part of either of the parties, is satisfied that, if the order for forfeiture is not made, the one party will in relation to the other be unduly benefited.[subsection (1) substituted by section 5 of Act 1 of 2024]
(2)In the case of a decree of divorce granted on the ground of the mental illness or continuous unconsciousness of the defendant, no order for the forfeiture of any patrimonial benefits of the marriage shall be made against the defendant.

10. Costs

In a divorce action the court shall not be bound to make an order for costs in favour of the successful party, but the court may, having regard to the means of the parties, and their conduct in so far as it may be relevant, make such order as it considers just, and the court may order that the costs of the proceedings be apportioned between the parties.

11. Procedure

The procedure applicable with reference to a divorce action shall be the procedure prescribed from time to time by rules of court.

12. Limitation of publication of particulars of divorce action

(1)Except for making known or publishing the names of the parties to a divorce action, or that a divorce action between the parties is pending in a court of law, or the judgement or order of the court, no person shall make known in public or publish for the information of the public or any section of the public any particulars of a divorce action or any information which comes to light in the course of such an action.
(2)The provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply with reference to the publication of particulars or information—
(a)for the purposes of the administration of justice;
(b)in a bona fide law report which does not form part of any other publication than a series of reports of the proceedings in courts of law; or
(c)for the advancement of or use in a particular profession or science.
(3)The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) shall mutatis mutandis apply with reference to proceedings relating to the enforcement or variation of any order made in terms of this Act as well as in relation to any enquiry instituted by a Family Advocate in terms of the Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act, 1987.[subsection (3) substituted by section 8 of Act 24 of 1987]
(4)Any person who in contravention of this section publishes any particulars or information shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine, not exceeding one thousand rand or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

13. Recognition of certain foreign divorce orders

The validity of a divorce order or an order for the annulment of a marriage or for judicial separation granted in a court of a foreign country or territory shall be recognized by a court in the Republic if, on the date on which the order was granted, either party to the marriage-
(a)was domiciled in the country or territory concerned, whether according to South African law or according to the law of that country or territory;
(b)was ordinarily resident in that country or territory; or
(c)was a national of that country or territory.
[section 13 amended by sections 46 and 47 of Act 97 of 1986 and substituted by section 7 of Act 3 of 1992]

14. Abolition of orders for restitution of conjugal rights and judicial separation

It shall not be competent for a court to issue an order for the restitution of conjugal rights or for judicial separation.

15. Application of Act

This Act shall not apply with reference to a divorce action or proceedings for the restitution of conjugal rights or for judicial separation instituted before the commencement of this Act.

16. Amendment of section 5 of Act 37 of 1953, as amended by section 2 of Act 13 of 1966

Section 5 of the Matrimonial Affairs Act, 1953, is hereby amended—
(a)by the substitution for subsection (1) of the following subsection:"(1) Any provincial or local division of the Supreme Court or any judge thereof may, on the application of either parent of a minor whose parents are divorced or are living apart, in regard to the custody or guardianship of, or access to, the minor, make any order which it may deem fit, and may in particular, if in its opinion it would be in the interests of such minor to do so, grant to either parent the sole guardianship (which shall include the power to consent to the marriage of the child) or the sole custody of the minor, and the court may order that, on the predecease of the parent to whom the sole guardianship of the minor is granted, a person other than the surviving parent shall be the guardian of the minor, either jointly with or to the exclusion of the surviving parent.";
(b)by the substitution for subsection (2) of the following subsection:"(2) An order under subsection (1) in regard to a minor whose parents are living apart shall, if the parents become reconciled and live together again as husband and wife, lapse with effect from the date on which the parents commence to live together again.";
(c)by the substitution for subsection (3) of the following subsection:"(3) Subject to any order of court
(a)a parent to whom the sole guardianship or custody of a minor has been granted under subsection (1) or the Divorce Act, 1979, or a father or a mother upon whom a children’s court has under section 60 (1) of the Children’s Act, 1960 (Act No. 33 of 1960), conferred the exclusive right to exercise any parental powers in regard to a minor, may by testamentary disposition appoint any person to be the sole guardian or to be vested with the sole custody of the minor, as the case may be; and
(b)the father of a minor to whom the sole guardianship of the minor has not been granted under subsection (1) or the Divorce Act, 1979, or upon whom a children’s court has not conferred the exclusive right to exercise any parental powers in regard to the minor, shall not be entitled by testamentary disposition to appoint any person as the guardian of the minor in any other manner than to act jointly with the mother."; and
(d)by the substitution for subsection (6) of the following subsection:"(6) If an order under section 60 of the Children’s Act, 1960, is rescinded, or if an order under subsection (1) of this section or under the Divorce Act, 1979, granting the sole guardianship or custody of a minor to a parent, lapses or is rescinded or is varied in such a manner that the parent is no longer the sole guardian or vested with the sole custody of the minor, any disposition under subsection (3)(a) shall lapse.".
.

17. Amendment of section 72 of Act 66 of 1965, as amended by section 7 of Act 54 of 1970

Section 72 of the Administration of Estates Act, 1965, is hereby amended by the substitution for that part of subsection (1) which precedes paragraph (b) thereof, of the following:"(1) The Master shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (3) and to any applicable provision of section 5 of the Matrimonial Affairs Act, 1953 (Act No. 37 of 1953), and section 4 of the Matrimonial Affairs Ordinance, 1955 (Ordinance No. 25 of 1955), of the territory, or any order of court made under any such provision or any provision of the Divorce Act, 1979, on the written application of any person—
(a)who has been nominated by will or written instrument—
(i)by the father of a legitimate minor, who has not been deprived, as a result of an order under subsection (1) of the said section 5 or subsection (1) of the said section 4 or the Divorce Act, 1979, of the guardianship of such minor, or under section 60 of the Children’s Act, 1960 (Act No. 33 of 1960), or section 58 of the Children’s Ordinance, 1961 (Ordinance No. 31 of 1961), of the territory, of his parental powers over him; or
(ii)by the mother of an illegitimate minor or of a legitimate minor whose father is dead, who has not been so deprived of the guardianship of such minor or of her, parental powers over him; or
(iii)by the parent to whom the sole guardianship of a minor has been granted under subsection (1) of the said section 5 or under subsection (1) of the said section 4 or under the Divorce Act, 1979, or on whom the exclusive right to exercise parental powers in regard to a minor has been conferred under the said section 60 or the said section 58,
to administer the property of such minor and to take care of his person as tutor, or to take care of or administer his property as curator; or".

18. Repeal of laws

The laws mentioned in the Schedule are hereby repealed to the extent set out in the third column of the Schedule.

19. Short title and commencement

This Act shall be called the Divorce Act, 1979, and shall come into operation on 1 July 1979.

Schedule

No. and year of lawShort titleExtent of repeal
Act No. 32 of 1935Divorce Laws Amendment Act, 1935The whole
Act No. 22 of 1939Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction Act, 1939The whole
Act No. 17 of 1943Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction Amendment Act, 1943The whole
Act No. 35 of 1945Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction Act, 1945The whole
Act No. 37 of 1953Matrimonial Affairs Act, 1953Sections 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10
Act No. 70 of 1968General Law Amendment Act, 1968Sections 21, 22 and 23
[item repealed by section 33 of Act 65 of 1996]
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Cited documents 8

Legislation 8
1. Magistrates' Courts Act, 1944 2690 citations
2. Pension Funds Act, 1956 1492 citations
3. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 610 citations
4. Films and Publications Act, 1996 161 citations
5. Matrimonial Affairs Act, 1953 45 citations
6. General Law Amendment Act, 1968 43 citations
7. Publications Act, 1974 29 citations
8. Matrimonial Affairs Amendment Act, 1966 2 citations

Documents citing this one 198

Judgment 138
1. Schwartz v Schwartz (63/84) [1984] ZASCA 79 (17 August 1984) 16 citations
2. Johncom Media Investments Ltd v M & Others (Media Monitoring Project as Amicus) [2009] ZACC 5 (17 March 2009) 10 citations
3. P F v S F (788 of 2020) [2022] ZASCA 101 (22 June 2022) 9 citations
4. S T v C T (1224 of 2016) [2018] ZASCA 73 (30 May 2018) 8 citations
5. Du Toit and Another v Minister of Welfare and Population Development and Others [2002] ZACC 20 (10 September 2002) 7 citations
6. Fourie and Another v Minister of Home Affairs and Another [2003] ZACC 11 (31 July 2003) 7 citations
7. Wiese v Government Employees Pension Fund and Others [2012] ZACC 5 (30 March 2012) 7 citations
8. Eskom Pension and Provident Fund v Krugel and Another (689/2010) [2011] ZASCA 96 (31 May 2011) 4 citations
9. Ngewu and Another v Post Office Retirement Fund and Others [2013] ZACC 4 (7 March 2013) 4 citations
10. Z v Z (556 of 2021) [2022] ZASCA 113 (21 July 2022) 4 citations
11. Badenhorst v Badenhorst (7/2005) [2005] ZASCA 116 (29 November 2005) 3 citations
12. G N v J N (600 of 2015) [2016] ZASCA 162 (4 November 2016) 3 citations
13. Holomisa v Holomisa and Another [2018] ZACC 40 (23 October 2018) 3 citations
14. M K and Others v I K (360 of 2021) [2022] ZASCA 116 (28 July 2022) 3 citations
15. M v M (022/2022) [2023] ZASCA 75 (26 May 2023) 3 citations
16. Women’s Legal Centre Trust v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others [2022] ZACC 23 (28 June 2022) 3 citations
17. G K v N M; In Re: G K v N M (44477/2021) [2023] ZAGPJHC 418 (4 May 2023) 2 citations
18. Helen Suzman Foundation v Speaker of National Assembly and Others (484/2021) [2023] ZASCA 6 (3 February 2023) 2 citations
19. Monyepao v Ledwaba and Others (1368/2018) [2020] ZASCA 54 (27 May 2020) 2 citations
20. Pangarker v Botha (446/2013) [2014] ZASCA 78 (29 May 2014) 2 citations
21. President of the RSA and Another v Women’s Legal Centre Trust and Others; Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development v Faro and Others; and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development v Esau and Others (612/2019) [2020] ZASCA 177 (18 December 2020) 2 citations
22. Wijker v Wijker (325/1992) [1993] ZASCA 101 (26 August 1993) 2 citations
23. A R v P R (40000/17) [2022] ZAGPJHC 271 (29 April 2022) 1 citation
24. B R v R S (2023 - 014603) [2023] ZAGPJHC 1072 (18 September 2023) 1 citation
25. BJM v WRM (2022/9405) [2023] ZAGPJHC 401 (28 April 2023) 1 citation
26. BS v PS (291 of 2017) [2018] ZASCA 37 (28 March 2018) 1 citation
27. Bailey and Another v Bailey (1324/2019) [2020] ZASCA 178 (18 December 2020) 1 citation
28. Bezuidenhout v Bezuidenhout (364/2003) [2004] ZASCA 127 (23 September 2004) 1 citation
29. C B v D B (820/2021) [2022] ZASCA 123 (22 September 2022) 1 citation
30. C v C (13116/13) [2018] ZAGPJHC 535 (10 September 2018) 1 citation
31. Centre for Child Law v T S and Others [2023] ZACC 22 (29 June 2023) 1 citation
32. De Graaf NO v Camilleri (565/2022) [2023] ZASCA 117 (3 August 2023) 1 citation
33. H M v A M (1317/17) [2019] ZASCA 12 (14 March 2019) 1 citation
34. Harlech-Jones v Harlech-Jones (188/2011) [2012] ZASCA 19 (22 March 2012) 1 citation
35. Holomisa v Holomisa (564 of 2016) [2017] ZASCA 64 (29 May 2017) 1 citation
36. K F v M F (4001/2023) [2023] ZAWCHC 151 (13 October 2023) 1 citation
37. Laubscher NO v Duplan and Another [2016] ZACC 44 (30 November 2016) 1 citation
38. M v M (34560/14) [2018] ZAGPPHC 306 (23 March 2018) 1 citation
39. Montanari v Montanari (1086/2018) [2020] ZASCA 48 (5 May 2020) 1 citation
40. RH v DE (594/2013) [2014] ZASCA 133 (25 September 2014) 1 citation
41. Special Investigating Unit v Hlatshwayo and Another (GP20/2020) [2021] ZAST 28 (12 February 2021) 1 citation
42. A W v C W (043054/2023) [2023] ZAGPPHC 983 (31 August 2023)
43. Arcus v Arcus (1 of 2021) [2022] ZASCA 9 (21 January 2022)
44. B M v R M (19279/2019) [2023] ZAGPPHC 632 (5 June 2023)
45. B T v M M (33568/20) [2023] ZAGPPHC 1017 (4 September 2023)
46. B V R v C V R (4939/2020) [2023] ZAFSHC 53 (1 March 2023)
47. Beaumont v Beaumont (326/1985) [1986] ZASCA 158 (15 December 1986)
48. Botha v Botha (393/2004) [2006] ZASCA 6 (9 March 2006)
49. Bursey v Bursey and Another (611/1997) [1999] ZASCA 25 (30 March 1999)
50. Buttner v Buttner (382/2004) [2005] ZASCA 86 (23 September 2005)
51. C C v D C (A91/2023) [2023] ZAWCHC 117 (14 August 2023)
52. C J H v C F H (1378/2022) [2023] ZAECELLC 23 (20 July 2023)
53. C M v N M (18195/2022) [2023] ZAGPJHC 1272 (30 October 2023)
54. C N v N N (2021/11607) [2023] ZAGPJHC 276 (23 February 2023)
55. C P v G P (7139/2020) [2024] ZAKZDHC 9 (1 March 2024)
56. D A E v D A J (13755/2022) [2023] ZAGPJHC 528 (19 May 2023)
57. D H B v C S B (CCT 293/22) [2024] ZACC 9 (22 May 2024)
58. D H v A H (914/2023) [2023] ZAECGHC 31 (4 April 2023)
59. Dlamini v Road Accident Fund (21375/2019) [2022] ZAGPJHC 44 (7 September 2022)
60. Du Plessis v Road Accident Fund (443/2002) [2003] ZASCA 86 (19 September 2003)
61. E B v E R and Others; K G v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (CCT 158/22; CCT 364/21) [2023] ZACC 32 (10 October 2023)
62. E L v Verster-Roos Incorporated (Pty) Ltd (2588/2021) [2023] ZAGPPHC 846 (31 July 2023)
63. E W v V H and Another (12272/2022) [2023] ZAWCHC 27 (17 March 2023)
64. Ex parte: Le Grange and Another; Le Grange v Le Grange (984/2011) [2013] ZAECGHC 75 (1 August 2013)
65. F v F (30918/16) [2018] ZAGPPHC 307 (2 March 2018)
66. Forie v Vrystaat Munisipale Pension Fonds and Others (2973/2021) [2022] ZAFSHC 42 (20 May 2022)
67. G D v L D (25896/21) [2022] ZAGPPHC 728 (31 October 2022)
68. Government Employees Pension Fund v Naidoo and Another (32/2005) [2005] ZASCA 112 (28 November 2005)
69. GreeenHill v Discovery Preservation Pension Fund and Another (28609/20) [2021] ZAGPJHC 174 (25 November 2021)
70. Gugu and Another v Zongwana and Others (CA 13 of 2012) [2013] ZAECMHC 30 (10 October 2013)
71. H v H (12415/22) [2024] ZAGPPHC 393 (17 April 2024)
72. I M v A M (1305/2021) [2023] ZASCA 33 (31 March 2023)
73. I P v N P (9117/2023) [2023] ZAWCHC 124 (28 July 2023)
74. J M v P M (60586/2011) [2023] ZAGPPHC 637 (26 May 2023)
75. J P v C P ; In Re: C P v J P and Others (10025/2021) [2024] ZAGPPHC 228 (22 February 2024)
76. K G v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (40023/21) [2022] ZAGPPHC 724 (11 May 2022)
77. K M v P M (14861/2018) [2023] ZAGPPHC 41 (31 January 2023)
78. Kader v Swartz and Others (2015/08456) [2023] ZAGPJHC 245 (11 April 2023)
79. Katz v Katz (437/1987) [1989] ZASCA 42 (31 March 1989)
80. Ketse v Ketse and Others (1319/2013) [2013] ZAECPEHC 35 (8 August 2013)
81. Kruger NO v Goss and another (603/2008) [2009] ZASCA 105 (21 September 2009)
82. L E N v P N N (54017/2020) [2022] ZAGPPHC 1064 (30 November 2022)
83. L E v L A (1884/2018) [2024] ZAGPJHC 126 (9 February 2024)
84. L M v M M (DIV 182/2020) [2023] ZANWHC 619 (20 January 2023)
85. L M v R D M (EL789/2022) [2023] ZAECELLC 42 (31 October 2023)
86. L M v S M (10856/2021) [2023] ZAGPPHC 171 (20 March 2023)
87. L M v T V M (1492/21) [2022] ZAGPJHC 481 (1 August 2022)
88. L v L (330/2013; A3047/2019) [2023] ZAGPJHC 61 (30 January 2023)
89. L v L (83552/16) [2018] ZAGPPHC 302 (27 February 2018)
90. Lebethe and Another v Metropolitan Financial Services and Another (62311/2020) [2023] ZAGPPHC 660 (19 June 2023)
91. Letsoale v Road Accident Fund; Rabopape v Road Accident Fund; Mbonani v Road Accident Fund; Mabuso v Road Accident Fund (52869/2019; 54979/2018; 57337/2020; 70299/2018) [2023] ZAGPPHC 661 (12 June 2023)
92. M L v M B; In Re: M L v M B (2017/30005) [2023] ZAGPJHC 893 (8 August 2023)
93. M M NO v N L (A160/2019) [2022] ZAGPPHC 653 (26 October 2022)
94. M M v B M (A3004/2022) [2022] ZAGPJHC 1239 (30 December 2022)
95. M M v M M (50524/2017) [2023] ZAGPPHC 172 (22 March 2023)
96. M M v N M (78893/2018) [2022] ZAGPPHC 621 (12 September 2022)
97. M M v O M (73608/2019) [2023] ZAGPPHC 1302 (22 November 2023)
98. M N v J N and Another (9417/2019) [2022] ZAGPJHC 798 (21 September 2022)
99. M S v M B (2017/30005) [2023] ZAGPJHC 546 (23 May 2023)
100. M v M (14836/07) [2018] ZAGPPHC 498 (20 April 2018)
101. MNB v MMP (9368/19) [2022] ZAGPJHC 422 (3 March 2022)
102. Manelis v Manelis (32624/15) [2022] ZAGPJHC 880 (29 June 2022)
103. Matolo-Dlepu N.O. v Mawashwa (9804/21) [2021] ZAGPJHC 416 (27 October 2021)
104. Mekoa v Mekoa and Another (39527/18) [2022] ZAGPJHC 4 (3 January 2022)
105. Morare v Morare and Another (60586/2011) [2023] ZAGPPHC 653 (26 May 2023)
106. Mothloung v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (32030/13) [2022] ZAGPJHC 29 (10 February 2022)
107. Myeza v Myeza (56859/2021) [2023] ZAGPPHC 85 (21 February 2023)
108. N M M v N M S (4342/2020) [2022] ZAGPPHC 1078 (14 November 2022)
109. N P v J P (39676/16) [2023] ZAGPPHC 1306 (22 November 2023)
110. Nailana v Nailana (714/2018) [2019] ZASCA 185 (3 December 2019)
111. Nelson v Nelson (2283/2021) [2022] ZAECGHC 9 (17 May 2022)
112. North v North (1513/2020) [2022] ZAECPEHC 31 (18 October 2022)
113. Oosthuizen N.O. v Barnard and Others (20665/2021) [2023] ZAGPPHC 31 (24 January 2023)
114. P S v T S (A 3122/2017) [2018] ZAGPJHC 608 (29 October 2018)
115. Potgieter v Potgieter (215/2006) [2007] ZASCA 47 (30 March 2007)
116. Purnell v Purnell (576/1991) [1993] ZASCA 22 (11 March 1993)
117. R B v D B (17/7113) [2023] ZAGPJHC 243 (6 April 2023)
118. R M v C M (37409/2018) [2023] ZAGPJHC 1204 (18 October 2023)
119. R M v M M (CA 29/2022) [2023] ZAECGHC 16 (24 February 2023)
120. R v S (2023-123933) [2024] ZAGPJHC 1667 (5 April 2024)
121. S T v B N and Another (2020/26471) [2022] ZAGPJHC 943 (2 February 2022)
122. S V v H V (19579/2013) [2018] ZAGPPHC 398 (12 February 2018)
123. S v S (699/2008) [2015] ZAECPEHC 46 (2 July 2015)
124. SJ v SE and Another (2016/30298) [2018] ZAGPJHC 952 (24 April 2018)
125. SJ v SE and Another (30298/2016) [2018] ZAGPJHC 709 (24 April 2018)
126. Staatspresident van Republiek van Suid-Afrika and Others v Release Madela Campaign and Others (216/1987) [1988] ZASCA 89 (13 September 1988)
127. Swartz N.O. v K and Another (A 5036/21) [2021] ZAGPJHC 461 (15 December 2021)
128. T J v A D (AR 458/2010) [2011] ZAKZPHC 31 (19 May 2011)
129. T M v N M (Reasons for Judgment) (16305/22) [2022] ZAGPPHC 770 (3 August 2022)
130. T M v P M (35304/2015) [2018] ZAGPPHC 247 (25 January 2018)
131. T R v S R (2017/11467) [2024] ZAGPJHC 55 (24 January 2024)
132. T S v M S (5483/2022) [2024] ZAGPPHC 308 (19 March 2024)
133. Tshisevhe Gwina Ratshimbilani Incorporated v Gijima Holdings (Pty) Ltd (41445/20) [2022] ZAGPJHC 454 (11 July 2022)
134. V S v S S (37350/2015) [2018] ZAGPJHC 617 (12 September 2018)
135. Van Straten v Van Straten (661/2020) [2022] ZAFSHC 82 (1 July 2022)
136. Vester v Fletcher ad Another (3885/2010) [2012] ZAECPEHC 29 (2 May 2012)
137. Weir-Smith v Weir-Smith and Others (37634/17) [2021] ZAGPJHC 145 (1 July 2021)
138. Zwiegelaar v Zwiegelaar (607/1998) [2000] ZASCA 68 (28 November 2000)
Gazette 51
1. South Africa Government Gazette Legal Notices A dated 2004-08-06 number 26623
2. South Africa Government Gazette Legal Notices A dated 2006-12-15 number 29459
3. South Africa Government Gazette Legal Notices A dated 2017-06-02 number 40880 part 1
4. South Africa Government Gazette Legal Notices A dated 2018-04-13 number 41569 part 1
5. South Africa Government Gazette Legal Notices A dated 2024-02-02 number 50061 part 1
6. South Africa Government Gazette Regulation Gazette dated 1982-12-24 number 8486
7. South Africa Government Gazette Regulation Gazette dated 1998-11-09 number 19458
8. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1986-06-25 number 10306
9. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1992-03-11 number 13815
10. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1992-03-11 number 13817
11. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1992-04-15 number 13921
12. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1993-01-22 number 14533
13. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1993-11-12 number 132
14. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-02-02 number 16943
15. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-11-08 number 17560
16. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1996-11-22 number 17605
17. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1997-08-08 number 18166
18. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1997-11-21 number 18451
19. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-11-27 number 19513
20. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1998-12-02 number 19539
21. South Africa Government Gazette dated 1999-11-24 number 20656
22. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2000-12-01 number 21817
23. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2000-12-13 number 21883
24. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2001-12-12 number 22923
25. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2004-03-31 number 26206
26. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2005-01-24 number 27188
27. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2007-07-13 number 30067
28. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2007-09-07 number 30270
29. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2008-11-05 number 31579
30. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2010-11-02 number 33726
31. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2011-01-21 number 33946
32. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2011-10-19 number 34692
33. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2011-12-14 number 34864
34. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2012-08-29 number 35637
35. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2012-10-31 number 35843
36. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2013-02-01 number 36122
37. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2013-11-06 number 37005
38. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2014-01-16 number 37237
39. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2014-01-27 number 37269
40. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2014-05-09 number 37623
41. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2015-08-28 number 39131
42. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2018-10-29 number 42005
43. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2020-04-03 number 43192 part 1
44. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2020-10-22 number 43831
45. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2020-12-11 number 43981 part 1
46. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-01-20 number 44083
47. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-05-04 number 44529
48. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-05-11 number 44557
49. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-06-18 number 44724 part 1
50. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-07-02 number 44799 part 1
51. South Africa Government Gazette dated 2021-10-08 number 45275 part 1
Legislation 9
1. Income Tax Act, 1962 1578 citations
2. Pension Funds Act, 1956 1492 citations
3. Matrimonial Property Act, 1984 1102 citations
4. Children's Act, 2005 489 citations
5. Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998 115 citations
6. Maintenance Act, 1998 111 citations
7. Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act, 1987 62 citations
8. Transnet Pension Fund Act, 1990 19 citations
9. Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Regulations, 1990