Q CAN I HAVE A CHEAPER DIVORCE?
How long does a divorce take and is there a way to have a divorce which does not cost a lot of money? ANONYMOUS, DURBAN
A The period upon which a divorce can be finalised depends on whether the spouses can reach a settlement agreement. Once this is signed, it can be made an order of court.
If there are no minor children, the divorce can be finalised within a few weeks. If there are minor children, the divorce will not be finalised until the Family Advocate is satisfied that the best interests of the minor children has been taken care of. A divorce is cheaper if it is instituted at the divorce court. Every magistrate court now has a divorce court section.
Q I WANT MAINTENANCE
I have two children with my ex-boyfriend. I want to know what is the legal process of getting maintenance for my children? ANONYMOUS, ERMELO
A A parent needing maintenance must apply to the maintenance court which is found at every magistrate’s court.
Once the application has been lodged, a date will be set where both parents must appear in court. However, the first process will be an informal inquiry where the maintenance mediator will try and negotiate with the parties with the aim of reaching a settlement agreement.
Q I HAVE BEEN DEFAMED
Can I sue someone for making inappropriate, insensitive and racist comments about me on social media? ANONYMOUS, SUNNYSIDE
A Everyone has a right to free speech but this right may not infringe on others. You can sue for defamation if what was written has affected your name and you have suffered financial loss as a result. You can also open a criminal case and take the matter to the Human Rights Commission.
Q FIRED FOR ONLINE POSTS
Can an employee be fired for what they post on social media, outside of working hours and in their private space? ANONYMOUS, BLOEMFONTEIN
A An employer can discipline or dismiss an employee if what the latter has posted affects the company badly.
The fact that an employee is acting in his private capacity and outside of working hours is no defence or justification for not being disciplined by an employer.
Q TENANT LEFT POSSESSIONS
A former tenant left his belongings in my property. I have tried to get him to collect these without any success.
I want to know if I am allowed to get rid of these possessions? Will this be regarded as theft? ANONYMOUS, CAPE TOWN
A There is a legal presumption that when a tenant has left his possessions where he was renting, he has abandoned them and the owner of the property can dispose of them.
However, an owner must first send a letter or a message to the previous tenant informing them that the goods will be disposed of if they are not collected by a certain date. If the goods are not fetched after that date, you can get rid of them. But if you get rid of them before the set date, the tenant can open a case of theft or sue for financial loss.
Nthabiseng Monareng holds an LLB from Wits University and is studying for her LLM. Nthabi has more than 10 years experience in the legal field, specialising as a family law expert. She’s written books on family law and is a family law mediator.