It is NOT recommended that you approach any High Court without a legal representative.
To institute legal proceedings in the High Court is more expensive than instituting legal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court (Regional Court).
A Registrar is a person at the Court that assists with the administration such as the issuing and filling of court documents.
You will also have complete a statistics form at the Court.
All the forms will be available at Court for you to complete. If you are uncertain how to complete the form then ask the Registrar to assist you. In any event, the Court will have to issue the summons.
If you are unsure if your permanent home falls within a Court's area of jurisdiction, phone the Registrar of that Court to find out.


Before you approach the Court to start divorce proceedings, you will should get certified copies of as many of the following documents as you can:

  • Your identity document
  • Your Ante-Nuptial Agreement, if any
  • The children’s births certificates, if any and
  • Your marriage certificate

Also make sure you have the following information handy:

  • Your full names, surname, identity number, occupation and place of residence
  • Your spouse’s full names, surname, identity number, occupation and place of residence
  • Date when you got married and where the marriage took place
  • Childrens’ full names, surnames, identity numbers and
  • Comprehensive details of any funds (such as pension funds, retirement annuities and provident funds) which you or your spouse belongs to.
    When you have all the information in order then you can approach the court to start the divorce proceedings. But which court should you approach?

You may institute divorce proceedings in either a High Court or Magistrates’ Court (Regional Court), but where the parties are representing themselves in a simple divorce, they should approach the Regional Court. This guide also focuses on the process in the Regional Court, and not the High Court. Follow this link for a list with contact details for the various lower courts (including the Regional Courts).

To determine which Court specifically you need to approach, you need to find the court that has jurisdiction to hear this matter. A court has jurisdiction in a divorce action if you, your spouse or both of you are:

  • domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the Court on the date on which the action is instituted (meaning the place you consider your permanent home is located inside the area of jurisdiction of the Court) or
  • ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date the action is instituted and has / have been ordinarily resident in South Africa for a period of not less than one year immediately prior to that date
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