The impact of the duration of the marriage in forfeiture of patrimonial benefits: PP v PJ [2020] ZAGPJHC 281 (2 November 2020)


  • Siyabonga Sibisi UKZN, South Africa



Forfeiture of patrimonial benefits, duration of the marriage, substantial misconduct, divorce


When deliberating whether to issue a forfeiture order for patrimonial benefits, section 9 of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979 mandates the court to take into account the marriage’s duration, the reasons behind the marriage’s breakdown, and any significant misconduct. These factors aid the court in determining if any financial benefits granted to a party are unwarranted. The presence of any of these factors might provide grounds for justifying a forfeiture order. This analysis examines how the duration of a marriage impacts a court’s decision regarding forfeiture, as well as how the duration of the marriage affects the extent of the forfeiture, as explored in the case of PP v JP [2020] ZAGPJHC 281 (2 November 2020). It illustrates that while forfeiture provisions retain a residual influence from the fault-based divorce system, the duration of the marriage remains distinctively impartial to fault.


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Case note / Vonnisbespreking