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US$2 000 Now Needed For Divorce, Legal Fees Skyrocket

The Law Society of Zimbabwe has delivered a massive blow to married couples contemplating divorce after hiking the legal fees for its members.

According to the new tariffs, couples who wish to divorce and go their separate ways will now need to fork out a massive ZWL$170,000 or US$2 000.

The person who initiates the divorce, the plaintiff, will need to fork out ZWL$102,000 in legal fees while the other party will need to fork out ZWL$68,000 for an uncontested divorce.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe has a separate tariff for United States Dollars. On this tariff, the Plaintiff will need to pay US$1,200 for an uncontested divorce. The defendant will need to pay US$800 in legal fees for the divorce proceedings. This means that the two parties will need to fork out a combined US$2,000 in legal fees.

A legal practitioner who spoke to iHarare about the new divorce fees, but who declined to be named for professional reasons, emphasized that these tariffs only apply for uncontested divorces.

He explained that an uncontested divorce is one where there are minimal if any disputes and where the issues are straightforward.

The legal practitioner went on to say that for contested divorces which may be more complex, the lawyers charge much more.

To put the new legal fees into perspective, civil servants are threatening to go on strike if their salaries are not reviewed. The civil servants want a 150 percent pay hike which will see the least paid worker earn ZWL$30,000 per month.

This puts the current salaries for the least paid government workers at around ZWL$12,0000 (approximately US$100) per month.

However, some workers unions representing teachers, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), are pushing for the government to restore teachers’ salaries to between US$520 and US$550 or the equivalent in the local currency.

According to the unions, this is what teachers used to earn before October 2018.

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