AUSI NTHABI

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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.

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