Divorce (or the dissolution of a marriage by a court) is results in the final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities flowing from marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. In South Africa, divorce requires the sanction of either the High Court or a specialist Divorce Court as it is an area of law that affects one's legal status.
The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of maintenance or spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt.
Where the issues are not complex and the parties are cooperative, a settlement can often be negotiated between them, and the parties will be divorced based on this 'consent paper'. Where there are disputes of fact, on the other hand, the divorce must proceed through the court system.