The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) have welcomed the Constitutional Court's ruling that has declared a section of the Divorce Act as unconstitutional, calling it a ‘victory for women’.

An EWN report notes that the Constitutional Court found that Section 7(3) of the Act was unconstitutional insofar as it allowed the courts to issue redistribution orders in certain cases of divorce where the couple had been married out of the community of property without accrual – but only if they were married before 1984, when other options were introduced.

The court found this amounted to indirect discrimination against women because of the disproportionate way in which they were impacted. It ruled that regardless of when a couple gets married, the court could potentially step in.

The CGE, represented by the LRC, made submissions in the case as a friend of the court, and the two organisations welcomed the ultimate outcome.

‘The social reality is that women disproportionately contribute to the family through non-financial means, and that was not taken into account at divorce by a court,’ said LRC attorney Ektaa Deochand.

‘Now the position has changed. The court can actually look at factors and look at how women contribute to the joint household in other ways and may contribute to the other spouse growing their estate.’

Full EWN report