The Importance Of Correct Wording In Your Divorce Decree

What Is The Clean-Break Principle?

The GEPF introduce the “clean-break” principle for the division of pension benefits. On 14 December 2011 the GEP Law Amendment Act 2011 amended the law to provide for the implementation of the “clean-break” principle.  This means that former spouses of members contributing to the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) can now claim their share of the fund as stipulated in their divorce order and don’t have to wait until retirement, resignation or death.

Why Is This Important When You Get Divorced?

Pension interest forms part of your spouse’s assets and depending on your marital regime, you may be entitled to claim a share. Read more.

How Do You Ensure You Can Claim This Benefit?

  • The percentage or exact amount of the pension interest you are claiming must be agreed upon and stipulated in the divorce settlement. Stating “the joint estate must be divided” or “a share of the pension” will not qualify you to claim.
  • The name of the Fund must be stipulated; in this instance, “Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF)”
  • Direct the Fund to pay the ex-spouse pension interest; and
  • Make certain to send an original certified copy of the Final Divorce Decree and Settlement with all other supporting documents to the GEPF

It is imperative that these details are correctly stipulated in a divorce settlement agreement.

What Citation Must Be Used To Ensure You Have A Valid Claim?

A typical way in which a pension clause is formulated in a divorce settlement agreement would be as follows:

“In terms of Section 7(7) and 7(8)(a)(i) and (ii) of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979 it is agreed that 50% of the pension interest, due and assigned to the Plaintiff/Defendant, held in the Government Employees Pension Fund be paid to the Defendant/Plaintiff by the aforementioned fund when any such pension benefits accrue in respect of the Plaintiff/Defendant, up to the date of the granting of the Decree of Divorce. An endorsement to this effect must be made in the records of the abovementioned Pension Fund, member number XXXXX.”

It is important as indicated above to make mention that an endorsement be made in the records of the pension fund that the relevant interest in the pension fund be paid.

What Happens If The Wording Is Incorrect?

Failure to formulate the clause properly in the settlement agreement and/or Divorce Decree will only result in an “no endorsement” and the divorce interest not being paid to the non-member. Further application for and amendment of the divorce order will have to be brought to court and will result in unnecessary cost and time delay.

The GEPF only acts on a correct formulated Divorce Decree and/or Settlement and can only pay the non-member once a court order is presented.

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36 thoughts on “The Importance Of Correct Wording In Your Divorce Decree”

    1. Xpression Assist

      Good day Zimele, the GEPF offices are currently closed due to the National Lockdown. I have sent you an email with further information on how I can be of assistance. Kind regards

      1. Good day Gugu, I have sent you an email with information on how I can assist you to determine what is delaying the payment of your divorce claim. Regards, Janene

  1. Good day,

    I need to submit my claim to the GEPF but i don’t know what documents are required to submit.
    When i call their offices there is no answer

    1. Xpression Assist

      Dear Vusani, I can most definitely assist you to submit your claim and ensure it is processed and paid. I have sent you an email with further information. Regards, Janene

  2. Good afternoon,

    I would like to enquire if the pension redress process has started up and how can I find out the status of the claims.


    1. Dear Veronique, The GEPF is currently not processing any Redress claims. Pension redress was an additional task given to GEPF to handle the payment after PSCBC made all the decisions. This is not the core functions of GEPF and therefore it is placed on hold until after the lockdown. The few personnel at work already struggle to pay the normal claims and the additional load cannot also be accommodated. Should you have any further queries I suggest you contact the PSCBC directly.

    1. Good day Liesl, I assist my clients with their claim by following-up personally on their claims. You are welcome to email me with your specific query and I will send you information on how I can assist,

  3. Good Day,

    I am waiting for a maintenance payout from the GEPF for my kids, still have not received anything and cannot get through to your offices.

    1. Dear Taryn, Arrear child maintenance will only be paid when the member resigns or at time of death. I advise you make sure that the GEPF has an original certified copy of the court order on file.

  4. Jonas Mfaseng Ntsabo

    Good Afternoon

    Complaint about claim, since 15 January 2021 all my documents were received on 18 January 2021 now since wait till to this date then on the 02 March 2021, just received a response by call from GEPF concerning Settlement agreement and decree of divorce was not certified but it’s for second time to claim start last around October 2020. Now please i need your assistance since struggling and i was assisted by Old Mutual Financial advisor by that time till now

    1. Xpression Assist

      Dear Jonas, I can assist by following-up with GEPF and help to have your claim finalized as quickly as possible. I have sent you an email with further information.

  5. If the ex-spouse is deceased is it possible for the executor of the estate to opt not to share the pension fund as stated in the divorce decree if there is a need for a variation of the wording used?

    1. Xpression Assist

      Dear Tshiimo, in my opinion the claim should be made from the Late Estate, I don’t think it can be “over turned”. Regards

  6. Hi I’ve givin my paperwork for claim in February already and its been 60 days…I’ve got no payout,no feedback,nothing,which is very frustrating

  7. Good day, I am waiting for the payment of child maintenance since last year, my ex passed on September 1,last year. They keep on saying they are still calculating

  8. Hello madam ive got the divorce decree so is it possible to start the process of claim and submission of correct documents at Gepf with you or you work with someone when there are delays or incorrect documents.please tell me the fees to start the process .

  9. Good dayI have got my divorce decree so is it possible to start the process of claim and submission of correct documents at GEPF with you or you work with someone when there are delays or incorrect documents? Please tell me the fees to start the process?

    1. Xpression Assist

      Good day Jewnain, thank you for your query regarding claiming your share after divorce. I have sent you an email with further information, hope to receive your response soon. Regards, Janene

  10. Hi, I am in the process of resignation and I divorced in 2014-12-12 and the settlement was fully finalised in terms of cliams and all related matters.


    1. Why I must submit final decree of divorce NOW after it was finalized 8 years back.

    2. There is no maintenance default or judgement against me.

    3. Why am I required to submit birth certificates of children?

    1. Dear Mpho, once a member resigns and applies for the pension to be paid out, the file will always go to the Legal Section for verification if it is noted that the member is previously divorced. They have to check and validate that there is or is no divorce benefit due to the ex-spouse. It is normal procedure. Regards

  11. Hi my ex wife divorced me in 2018 there are unclaimed GEPF funds because I lost a divorce decree. when I go to court where a divorce was finalized they want a case number or file number which I also don’t have can you please assist me

    1. Xpression Assist

      Good day Oupa, unfortunately I cannot assist by obtaining a copy of your divorce decree and without it you cannot claim at GEPF. You can approach the Court by giving them your ID number and the date of divorce; they should be able to retrieve a copy for you. Regards

  12. Good Evening
    My Ex spouse drafted the divorce decree which was conformed by the court. The part that deals with her pension fund was wrong as they used the company administering the retirement fund. The administrators has rejected the claim and the lawyer of my ex spouse is demanding R15 000 to apply for motion of variation and says am liable to paying the amount.

    Can you advise.

    1. Good day Pule, unfortunately I cannot assist with your query as I only deal with claims at the GEPF and not any legal matters. Regards

  13. Good Day

    Please advise where can I check for the status progress of the divorce decree, any contact number or email address where I can sent the documents that was submitted by my ex- spouse, all the require documentation was submitted in November 2023

    1. Good day Gerardus, I do not work at the GEPF but offer a service assisting clients with their claims. I can help by following-up at the GEPF and see to it that it is finalized. I have sent you an email with further information on my services. Regards

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