Getting divorced is, generally, an emotionally painful experience, and more so if children are involved. It used to be that ‘fault’ featured in the divorce proceedings, but of course all this does is embitter parties even more. Nowadays, a court may only grant a decree of divorce on grounds of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or because one party is mentally ill or continually unconscious.
The Divorce Act 19791 provides for divorce and matters relating thereto, such as safeguards for the interests of dependent and minor children, division of assets, maintenance, and so on. The High Court is the final decision maker in most of these affairs, and particularly because it is the upper guardian of all children.
- It is a criminal offence to make known in public, or to publish, any particulars of a divorce action (i.e. the legal proceedings) or any information which comes to light in the course of the divorce action (whether in court or not) except:
- the names of the parties;
- the fact that a divorce action is pending; and
- the judgment or order of the Court.2
- The same applies to:
- proceedings relating to the enforcement or variation of any order made in terms of the Divorce Act; and
- an inquiry instituted by a Family Advocate in terms of the Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act, 1987.3