Cape Town Legal Correspondents

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Debt Collections

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Civil Litigation

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Divorce & Family Law

Divorce & Family Law

Contact Us on 021 422 4963 / [email protected]


Civil Unions / Partnerships

The Civil Union Act of 2006 introduced the concept of civil partnerships in South Africa and also legalised same-sex marriages in the Republic. South Africa was the first country on the African continent to recognise same-sex marriages.

What is a Civil Partnership?

Civil partnerships can be concluded by heterosexual couples or homosexual couples, and have the same rights, responsibilities and legal consequences as normal civil marriages.

Couples must be 18 years old and may not already be married or in another civil union.

Additionally, they are not allowed to form the partnership with a family member as governed by the law.

Solemnising a Civil Partnership

An authorised marriage officer must solemnise the partnership. All government officials (i.e. magistrates and Home Affairs officers) who are qualified as marriage officers are also mandated to solemnise civil partnerships.

Parties in a civil partnership will enjoy the same legal rights as they would have in a marriage in terms of the Marriage Act, including all of the divorce laws of the Republic.

There are however a couple of problems with the law as it stands and parliament is looking at amending the existing laws to remedy this.

Some of the issues include:

  1. It's extremely difficult for people from the gay and lesbian community to get married.
  2. Many of the government officials elect not to solemnise these marriages due to their own moral choice and cannot be forced to marry the parties under the existing legislation.
  3. If the parties are married and one of them decides to change their gender on their identity document, then the marriage will be null and void. This is a common occurrence in the gay and lesbian community and causes huge frustration.
  4. The entire process can take many years to complete.

Bailey Haynes Incorporated - Family Attorneys in Cape Town

Please feel free to contact our attorneys in Cape Town for more information on the above and for assistance with such a marriage regime and your marriage contract.



No such thing as common-law marriage

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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Posted by Jacques Haynes on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 Views: 3178



Till death do us part – the effect your marriage regime has on estate planning

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.

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Posted by Jacques Haynes on Thursday, January 31, 2019 Views: 3506



Customary Marriages and Community of Property

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. 

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Posted by Jacques Haynes on Friday, May 5, 2017 Views: 4863