Divorce Checklist

Justice is about harmony, revenge is to make you feel better.

I do not presume to have all the answers but I have been divorced twice for two different reasons. I was left once and once I left. I have also assisted in many divorce cases by virtue of my profession and have over the years observed the behaviour of parties trapped in this stressful, never nice situation.

So here is a list that is not comprehensive but which I think might get you on your way to a better future. Believe in life after love!

Emotional Checklist

Do not make a rash decision! Do not listen to anybody else but to your own heart.

Once the decision has been made;

Figure out how you are going to deal with the rollercoaster ride which is to come, these are commonly feelings of regret, loss, failure, what ifs, should we have’s? loneliness, rejection, euphoria and freedom.

During the initial stages stay as sober as possible, do not binge on food or drink, you will be physically and emotionally very vulnerable and you definitely do not want to exacerbate any mental stress. You will need your strength. Confront your feelings, try and find answers to your why?

Make peace with the fact that it will take time to heal, about three years whether you were the one leaving or being left. Go through the process do not take shortcuts that might stifle your healing.

And remember it is the cracks in your heart that allows the light in.


Reality Checklist

Be very careful before using the same lawyer or even a friend, people cannot help but take sides.

Choose your own lawyer, preferably not one you know, that way you will get the best objective advice both emotionally and legally.

Do not think because you do not have money that you cannot be helped, ask first before giving up. Speak to people, there is always help and a way out.

Know what you have and what you need to make the transition into singlehood. Take time for yourself, do something that you could never do because your spouse prevented it, or your schedule prevented it.

Talk to your children, listen to their needs and questions and fears, and try to reassure and comfort them. Do not underestimate the effect the divorce might have on them. If necessary get help it is not scandalous.

Now is the time to treat yourself like a loved one, look after yourself, you are the best qualified to do so.

Legal Checklist

How were you married? In, or out of the community of property?

Calculate the value and divide the property – what do you want? What is due to you? If you do not know this then you will probably end up needing a liquidator. This is not ideal because like everything else they cost money.

Children – custody and visitation, schools, with who are they staying?

Maintenance for yourself (whether you are male or female) and maintenance for the children – calculate your needs, list expenses and income, and gather salary slips, and bank statements. It might be necessary for you to prove the need for maintenance.

Documents to prepare:

  • Anti-nuptial contract
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates of children
  • Information relating to the calculation of accrual
  • List of both spouses’ assets
  • What assets exist in the common estate of the parties?
  • List of assets, debts, pension funds, annuities and their values.
  • You might need a liquidator to do this calculation.
  • Reasons for divorce and proof of adultery or misconduct, assault etc.

Who must have control over the children and why? Why would a certain scenario be in their best interests? List anything that the other party does which might place the children in harm’s way and evidence thereof.


Insist on mediation. It is your right. Any dispute of whatever nature can be mediated. Mediation is cheap and quick, unlike the lengthy and very costly litigation process.

I trust this will be of help to you in setting the process in motion. This article is merely a guideline. Every matter will still have to be dealt with on its own merits.

Author: Marie de Meyer.



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