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Customary Marriages

The recognition is Customary Marriages Act governs customary marriages in South Africa. This act governs marriages concluded in terms of customary law, which is the customs and usages traditionally observed among the indigenous African peoples of South Africa.

The Act recognises:

  1. Customary marriages entered into after the commence of the Act that comply with the provisions of the Act;

  2. More than one customary marriage.

The requirements for a valid customary marriage are:

  1. The spouses must both be above the age of 18 years;

  2. The spouses must both consent to be married under customary law;

  3. The marriage must be negotiated or celebrated in accordance with customary law.

It is important to note, that if you are married in accordance with the Act, you may not enter into a marriage in terms of the Marriage Act, which is also known as a civil marriage.

Minors are able to enter into a customary marriage provided that the minor's guardians consent to the marriage.

Customary marriages must be registered with the Department of Home Affairs within 3 months of the date of marriage.

Both spouses in a customary marriage have equal rights.

When there is only one marriage, that marriage is deemed to be one in community of property of profit and loss, unless those consequences have been specifically excluded in an ante-nuptial agreement.

A customary marriage may only be dissolved by a decree of divorce in a South African Court. Therefore, should you wish to terminate your marriage, you need to apply to the Courts for a divorce.

We can assist you with divorces in terms of customary marriages. Book an obligation free consultation today.


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