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Marriage & Matrimonial Property
There is a common misperception of the term “common law marriage” in South Africa. The term is also known as cohabitation, domestic partnership or a life partnership and is defined as a heterosexual or same –sex couple who are not legally married but live together and share an emotional, physical and financial relationship.
Due to the nature of the relationship many regard it as equivalent to a legally recognized marriage, however this is incorrect.
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When couples decide to get married, they are usually not thinking about death and what might happen once one of them sadly passes away. However, in reality choosing a marriage regime is very important for estate planning. Here’s what you need to know when considering the effect your marriage regime might have on estate planning.
Since the promulgation of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 120 of 1998, the position has changed in that customary marriages are now recognised in our law. A marriage that is valid in terms of customary law and was in existence at the time of commencement of the Act, is for all purposes recognised as a marriage in terms of the Act.
A person can get married in terms of a civil marriage, customary marriage, civil union or religious marriage. A religious marriage is not recognised as a valid marriage, but the spouses in a religious marriage can be protected by law in certain instances.
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