New Zealand Law
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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?
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.
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.
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.