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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22977
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I still have South African citizenship, got married in the

Customer Question

I still have South African citizenship, got married in the US in 2009 and have been living in NZ for the past 5 years. I am eligible for my citizenship for NZ later this year, but my question is can I get divorced in South Africa or do I have to do it under NZ rules?
JA: What is your official status? Do you have any pending applications or petitions with USCIS?
Customer: I am officially South African citizen with permanent residency in NZ, no pending application in US
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I do not want to wait 2 years before I get divorced :)
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

Under the New Zealand family law you cannot reduce the time period of separation of two years before you apply for the marriage to be dissolved. If you are domiciled in New Zealand, which will be the case with permanent residence and living here, it is likely that you will need to apply under New Zealand law. However if your former partner resides in South Africa, then it is likely that you can apply to have the marriage dissolved there. Is your former partner in South Africa or the United States?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
If I knew about the 2 years I would have moved out 4 years ago like I wanted to but was still trying... :( He is here in New Zealand but is only waiting for his NZ citizenship before moving back to South Africa.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

Under the New Zealand family law, if both of you reside in New Zealand, you don't have any real option but to wait the two years for separation before you can apply for the marriage to be dissolved. You can of course move out at any time, and you don't have to be divorced to do so. You can also apply for issues like care of children and division of relationship property, which are dealt with quite separately from dissolving the marriage itself. I understand why you might want to get the marriage dissolved sooner, but it doesn't affect your ability to resolve the other issues.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
We don't really have any other relationship issues like children, property, etc. I just want to move on with my life and actually don't want to wait 2 years before getting involved in another relationship. I've waited 10 years the previous time before I got married and that didn't help me much. :)
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

I assume that this is more your concern about getting into other relationships before the marriage was dissolved. Under New Zealand family law there is no reason why you cannot get involved in another relationship after separation, although you might have personal reasons for not wanting to do so. It doesn't affect whether you can get a marriage dissolved or not if you are in another relationship. The concept of adultery as a legal basis for divorce was abolished many years ago.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Legally it might have been abolished but socially people still raise their eyebrows if you are getting into another relationship. Thank you for your advise. It is much appreciated. Though not what I wanted to hear... :)
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

From my perspective as a family lawyer, once you have left and separated, there seems to be little comment these days. But of course there are those who like to gossip about people. Unfortunately it is just not possible under the New Zealand family law to reduce the two-year period.