oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Some medico-legal aspects of divorce in South Africa

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Although escalating divorce rates are a worldwide phenomenon, the Law Commission has conceded that the South African picture is particularly bleak in this regard. Official concern has also been manifested in recently proposed amendments to the Divorce Act 70 of 1979. The purpose of this article is to suggest that not only is reform an urgent necessity, but that further, a medico-legal rather than a purely legalistic approach might this time be taken to improve South African divorce rules and procedures. Full account needs to be taken of important recent perceptions arising from modern research into familial interaction and other influences upon mental health. The suggestion that the development of divorce guidelines should take more account of recent medical research is of particular importance for cases where one or both spouses are physically or mentally impaired, because divorce-related needs of the ill have been a relatively neglected field in South Africa.

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