In life, it is always important to fully understand what we commit ourselves to and the options available to us in order to make the choices that will best suit us. The types of marriages available to us are also important to know as that would help us choose options that speak to us.
After a proposal, some couples start preparing for the big day, and oftentimes they leave out some important things that they should consider.
Below we have shared 3 types of marriages that are considered legal in South Africa as shared by the Department of Home Affairs and Gunston Strandvik Mlambo Attorneys.
The Department of Home Affairs states that South Africa’s definition of a customary marriage refers to a marriage that is “negotiated, celebrated or concluded according to any of the systems of indigenous African customary law which exist in South Africa”. This does not include marriages concluded in accordance with Hindu, Muslim or other religious rites.
Requirements for a customary marriage
For a customary marriage to be recognised as a valid marriage, it has to have been entered into before 15 November 2000.
However, if entered into after 15 November 2000 it must comply with the following requirements:
- The marriage must be negotiated, entered into or celebrated in accordance with customary law.
- The prospective spouses must be above the age of 18 years.
- Both prospective spouses must consent to the marriage.
The Civil Union Act stipulated that you may marry anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, through a civil union, a civil marriage or a customary marriage.
Civil unions may be conducted by:
- Designated marriage officers for specific religious denominations or organisations.
- Designated officers employed by the Department of Home Affairs and the Magistrates’ Courts.
Gunston and Strandvik Mlambo Attorneys define a civil marriage as a marriage between a man and a woman. A marriage common in Mzansi.
This marriage is divided into three types: marriage out of community of property; marriage out of community of property with accrual. If not stipulated, the above mentioned attorneys stipulate that a civil marriage will automatically be in community of property, unless an ante-nuptial contract is set.