Our mission is to provide our clients with knowledgeable, in-depth legal guidance and service.  We strive to provide a different kind of law firm, putting culture first, with great people doing the best legal work for our clients, while actively seeking new opportunities of growth.  The people of our firm are our chief resource and we strive to utilise them to the best of their ability, in the best interest of all our clients.  We take pride in our ability to attend to all aspects of the law, not regarding any problem as too big or too small, and we invite you to partner with us.  Being an exclusive female team, we understand the complex emotions involved in basic legal problems, of the man on the street, which has contributed to our popularity.  Praise goes to our heavenly Father.

Our services inter alia include –

  • Family Law matters, i.e. divorces, child maintenance, child custody, domestic violence, antenuptial contracts.
  • Civil litigation, i.e. collection proceedings, summonses to civil court, section 65, damages claims.
  • Cyber & Social Media Law ,i.e. cyberbullying, revenge porn, social media harassment.  
  • Immigration law, i.e. permanent resident visa. 
  • Correspondent attorney matters.
  • Debt review applications.
  • Wills & Estates, i.e. drafting wills & administrating deceased estates.
  • Third party matters, i.e. motor vehicle accidents.
  • Labour law related matters, i.e. CCMA, Labour Court, disciplinary hearings.
  • Contracts, i.e. drafting of different kinds of agreements.
  • Conveyancing, i.e. transfer of immovable property.
  • Rental property management, i.e. rental agreements, rental agents, evictions.
  • Criminal Court, i.e. legal representation with certain offences.
  • General legal advice.

We do however have certain speciality fields in which we practise, taking pride in resolving every aspect thereof to the best of our professional ability.

FAMILY LAW

We resolve family issues. 

Our most important relationships are with our family – parents, children, spouses, ex-spouses and siblings at various times deeply impact our lives.  And it is because these relationships are important, that issues tend to be emotional and consequential.  

We understand that all family law issues facing our clients are important, no matter how big or small.  Therefor we believe that it is very important to first fully understand issues before assisting clients to resolve matters.  Solutions which are outside the box are often only possible if the attorney truly listens and understands the issues.  But at the same time, not every problem can be resolved through negotiations.  At those times, clients can rest assured that their interests will be protected aggressively.  

Family Law is an area of law that deals with family matters and domestic relations, which may include –

  • marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships • adoption and surrogacy • child abuse and child abduction • termination of relationships including divorce, annulment, property settlements • paternity tests, maintenance, parental rights and responsibilities • contact rights to children • parenting plans and mediation • settlement agreements • family violence and harassment • ante nuptial contracts • liquidation of joint estates

In a diverse society like South Africa, relationships between people can take numerous forms. People can enter into civil marriages, same-sex marriages, customary marriages, religious marriages or domestic partnerships (cohabitation/living together). Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, may be defined as a legally recognised, life-long, voluntary union between a man and a woman, or two people of the same sex. The definition of marriage differs according to culture, but is commonly an institution in which an interpersonal relationship, usually intimate and sexual, is acknowledged through the exclusion of all other persons.

You are a survivor

You are not crazy. You were abused. You are not a victim - you are a survivor of domestic violence.

Best interest

Children have a right to be properly maintained by both their parents.

No fault principle

Sometimes marriages just don't work out. - Justice Madlanga in DE v RH CCT82/14[2015]ZACC18

DIVORCES

It goes without saying that you should not deliver the news that you want to get divorced, over the phone or via email, sms or social media. It will most likely be one of the most difficult conversations you are ever likely to have. Marriage is one of life’s central relationships and seeking a divorce may feel like a tremendous failure. It is not easy to initiate something you know will have great emotional, practical and financial implications for yourself and your children and whatever you do, therefore, do not let your spouse be the last to know.

Most spouses agree on temporary living arrangements during divorce, putting off final decisions until the divorce process has been finalised. Neither spouse is more entitled to stay in the family home than the other and in most cases, it is common for the primary caregiver to stay in the house with the children. Often but not always, that person is the mother. If you intend to share parenting, then the closer the parent of alternate residence lives to the family, the better for the children, as there is less disruption in their school and social lives.

No matter how anxious you are to get out of the house, remember that if you go without your children, the message you will be sending is that you think your spouse is the better parent, who can take better care of your children and since the courts do not like to disturb the status quo, wherever your children go when you separate, is likely where they will stay post divorce. Thus, if you are worried that moving out might lessen your chances of getting a proper parenting plan implemented, rather meet with your spouse and agree on an interim parenting plan while the divorce is pending.

Remember that you may obtain a protection order if you are in physical danger from your spouse. Get out of the house quickly, taking your children with you, and lodge a restraining order, coupled with an application for emergency monetary relief pending divorce, or issue divorce summons immediately and lodge a rule 43 or 58 application.

A separation or divorce launches everyone involved into unfamiliar territory. Everything is disrupted, your responsibilities and routine, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your own identity. Healing is difficult, however it is important to keep reminding yourself that, although healing takes time, and you will be needing patience with yourself, you can and will move on. Grief is also a natural reaction to any loss, and a divorce involves multiple losses, therefore you will go through all the emotional stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

The divorce process in South Africa is relatively straightforward, yet the financial and emotional consequences can be profound, especially when a divorce is lodged in the High Court. The other harsh reality is that the High Courts in South Africa have overly burdened court rolls, and parties normally have to wait a long time for their divorce matter to go to trial when their divorce is contested. The backlog in cases was somewhat lessened when the Regional Courts Amendment Act came into effect in 2010 to amend the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944, so as to allow regional divisions of the magistrates’ courts to also deal with divorce cases.

A divorce action is instituted by the issuing of a summons. You can divorce in either the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court having jurisdiction in your area or in the High Court. To start the divorce process you need to serve a Summons. A divorce summons is unique in that it must be served personally on the defendant by the sheriff of the court.

A court has jurisdiction in a divorce action if one or both parties are: • domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted; or • ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the said date and has/have been ordinarily resident in South Africa for a period of not less than one year immediately prior to that date.

There are typically two types of divorces, the contested or opposed divorce and the uncontested or unopposed. The latter type of divorce is the best and most cost effective for all parties concerned.

Most divorces settle long before going on trial.

In South Africa, the marital regime of the parties determines how the assets will be divided upon dissolution of the marriage, the assets being those at the time of the divorce. In South Africa, we have a ‘no fault’ system of divorce, meaning that a divorce will be granted if one of the parties believes that there has been an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship’ and that there are no reasonable prospects of restoring it. Therefore, a marriage can be dissolved even if one of the parties does not wish to get divorced.

Civil marriages, civil unions and those religious marriages conducted by registered marriage officers can only be dissolved by order of the court. The spouse wishing to end the marriage must issue a summons against the other spouse, stating that the relationship has broken down, that there is no reasonable prospect of restoring the relationship and which matrimonial property regime governs the marriage. The summons must make provision for the division of the estate, either stating that the parties have entered into a prior agreement or asking the court to divide the joint estate or enforce the provisions of the ANC. Parties must also set out what the arrangements are with regards to any children born or adopted during the marriage.

CYBER & SOCIAL MEDIA LAW

The advancement of technology and the internet has resulted in social media becoming a prominent method of communication, with messages being conveyed via social media between individuals, and between individuals and commercial entities.

Many commercial entities interact with their clients through electronic mail or WhatsApp. This effectively blurs the lines between the use of social media in our personal and professional lives.

Social media also provides a platform for individuals to freely voice their opinions for all the world to see, individuals must, however, realize that their posts are publications and must be published responsibly. Posts or messages published via social media may have consequences that may result in legal prosecution, dismissals, harassment, and defamatory claims. Social media has given rise to a number of forms of technology-related offences such as revenge porn, doxing, extortion, bullying, stalking, and harassment, and defamation. 

Social media carries immense persuasive power and negative reviews, or comments once online can cause irreparable damage to you and your business’s good name and reputation.

LABOUR CONSULTING SERVICES

We specialize in labour matters. We assist clients with day to day management of labour relations. We represent companies and individuals at the CCMA, Bargaining Councils and Labour Court. Training are also offered on dealing with labour matters, dependant on the clients specific needs.

Our Associate Attorney, Linda Smalberger, offers the following additional services, namely –

  1. Employment guides for startups and small enterprises.
  2. Audit – Complete Audit regarding Labour Law Compliance and Best Human Resources Practices.
  3. Appointments – Guidance and/or Assistance with Recruitment and Appointment Procedures.
  4. Employment Agreements / Letter of Appointments – Drafting of Agreements. – Reviewing and Amending of Current Agreements.
  5. Policies, Procedures, Forms, Memo’s and Notifications – Drafting of Policies, Procedures, Forms, Memo’s and Notifications. – Reviewing , Optimizing and Amending of Current Policies, Procedures, Forms and Notifications.
  6.  Disciplinary Processes and Procedures – Drafting and Issuing and/or Assistance and Advising on Drafting and the Issuing of 6.a. Warnings and Disciplinary Hearing Notifications. – Chairing of Disciplinary Hearings. – Review of all Disciplinary Action. – Incapacity Meetings, Procedures and Hearings. – Poor Work Performance Management
  7. Restructuring Processes – Managing and/or Advice on and Assisting with Operational Restructuring.
  8. Training Procedures – Training Employers, Managers and Supervisors on Best Practices regarding Human Resources
  9. Industrial Relations and Employee Relations. – Specific Disciplinary Process Training. – Training on CCMA / Bargaining Council Litigation.
  10. Disputes and Negotiations – Mutual Interest Dispute Management and/or Assistance with Mutual Interest Dispute
  11. Management – Assistance with Collective Bargaining and other Negotiations.
  12. Live HR Support – Use our Unlimited Support and Advice on all Labour Related Queries to help you find the solutions that is right for you business.
  13. Trade Union Management
  14. Department of Labour – Liaising /Dealing with the Department of Labour on matters on behalf of the Employer

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A WILL?

Nobody wants to think about dying, and therefore we often put off making a will. However, all of us accumulate assets during our lifetime, and even if these assets are of no great monetary value, they may be of sentimental value to our families and us. By drawing up a will (a document wherein you set out how your possessions are to be distributed after your death), you ensure that your family will be looked after when you are no longer there for them, especially if you have minor children, and that your assets are properly protected in accordance with your wishes. If you die intestate, without a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the law of intestate successions, which involves a set formula that may be far removed from your intentions. It is therefore imperative that a will be drawn up to avoid lengthy delays in winding up your affairs.

Any person over the age of 16 years, who is of a sound mind, may make a will. You may draw up your own will, but, since strict formalities apply for the drawing up of wills, it is advisable to contact a professional to ensure that all legal aspects are covered and that your wishes are set out clearly. If you die without a will, an administrator will have to be appointed to administer your estate which will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. As such, your assets may not be distributed as you would have wished. It also means that the process will be delayed and that there will be additional expense and frustration which most people would not want to inflict on their loved ones during a time of loss.

Marriage and property…

When drafting your will, it’s important to consider the nature of your relationship with your ‘significant other’. If you are married in community of property, you only own half of all assets registered in your name and that of your spouse. Your spouse therefore still remains a one half share owner of any fixed property you may want to bequeath to a third party which could potentially present difficulties.  If you are married in terms of the accrual regime, the calculation to determine which spouse has a claim against the other to equalise the growth of the respective estates only occurs at death. Your spouse may therefore have a substantial claim against your estate necessitating the sale of assets you had not intended to be sold.

Alongside your will, prepare the following in relation to any immovable property you may own –

  • State where your title deeds are kept and record any outstanding bonds and all insurance
  • File up-to-date rates and taxes receipts
  • Record details of the leases on any property you have
  • State who collects your rent
  • State who compiles your yearly accounts
  • State where your water, lights and refuse deposit receipts are kept.