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Marriage and Divorce Law

  • Marriage and Divorce Law

      • Marriage: Civil marriages have always been recognised and fully protected by the law, and now legal protection has also been afforded to same-sex and
        customary marriages.

        • Civil marriages are governed by the Marriage Act 25 of 1961.
        • Customary marriages are recognised through the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998.

        • Same-sex relationships are legally protected under the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006.

        The Marriage Act provides that only monogamous, heterosexual civil marriages may be solemnized in terms of the Act.
        The Recognition of Customary Marriages provides for the legal recognition of both monogamous and polygamous customary marriages,
        as long as they are concluded according to the customs and usages traditionally observed among the indigenous people of South Africa.
        The Civil Union Act caters for a specific form of marriage, providing for both opposite and same-sex couples.

        A divorce action is instituted by the issuing of a summons in either the High Court or the Regional Court.

        A court has jurisdiction in a divorce action if one or both parties are:

        • Domiciled in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the date on which the action is instituted; or

        • Ordinarily resident in the area of jurisdiction of the court on the said date and has/have been ordinarily resident in South Africa for
        a period of not less than one year immediately prior to that date.

        There are two types of divorces, the opposed divorce and the unopposed divorce.

        In South Africa, the marital regime (in community of property, out of community of property with/without accrual) of the parties
        determines how the assets will be divided upon dissolution of the marriage.

        Civil marriages, civil unions and religious marriages conducted by registered marriage officers can only be dissolved by an order of the
        court. The spouse wishing to end the marriage must issue a summons against the other spouse stating that the relationship has broken down,
        that there is no reasonable prospect of restoring the relationship, and the matrimonial property regime that governs the marriage

        Hi, I’m Kailash Pillay, an attorney from the city of Johannesburg. My passion for the law
        stems from a desire to improve upon the lives of the vulnerable who fall prey to a
        corrupt system.
        I studied at the University of Johannesburg where I obtained my Bachelor of Laws
        degree, the starting point to the long journey of becoming a legal practitioner.
        This profession has taught me to persevere through the complexities of the law and to
        continually develop my skills as a legal professional.