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Counting the cost of a divorce

The cost of a divorce action can vary considerably, depending on the complexity of the case, the amount of work involved in it for a lawyer, both before and during the court hearing, and particularly on whether or not the case is defended.

If you decide to undertake all the legal proceedings yourself, you could obtain a divorce fairly cheaply. Although revenue stamps on the summons, the sheriff's fees and any costs you might incur for making photocopies are unavoidable expenses.. If, however, you decide to contest a divorce without legal advice, you could face huge expenses in the long run.

If there is a dispute, if custody of the children has to be decided, or if financial arrangements have to be negotiated, it is essential to have legal representation - and this doubles the costs immediately. The fees of a private detective who may prove adultery, or of a doctor who may prove cruelty, will add to your expenses.

In a contested divorce, costs can run to many thousands of rands - even if a settlement is reached before the matter gets to court. In most cases, where you have decided to have an advocate represent you, it will not be necessary to have senior counsel, who would only be required if the case is extremely complicated. A competent junior counsel would be capable of dealing with most divorces. The amounts charged by advocates will depend on their seniority and experience.

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