Changing Your Surname – Your Choices on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood

Changing Your Surname – Your Choices on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood

You cannot lawfully use any surname in South Africa other than the one shown in the National Population Register (NPR), and trying to do so will land you in a lot of hassle and probably in legal trouble as well. So tread carefully when it comes to any event in your life involving a possible name change. Don’t be caught out trying to decide at the altar! As a woman about to get married for example, you have to decide what surname you want to use after the marriage. There are many pros and cons to consider when deciding between…
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Life Partners: Beware the “Common Law Marriage” Myth!

Life Partners: Beware the “Common Law Marriage” Myth!

One of the more pervasive myths in South Africa is that, if you live together for long enough as “life partners”, you have some form of legal protection because you are in a “common law marriage”. Not so! Our law has never recognised any such concept, and you could well be left high and dry when your partner dies or leaves you. The problem is that cohabitants have none of the general legal rights and duties to each other that apply to formal marriages and civil unions. The draft Domestic Partnerships Bill, which was published in 2008 and was supposed…
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It’s Wedding Season!  Here’s Why You Need an ANC (Whether You Marry Here or Overseas)

It’s Wedding Season! Here’s Why You Need an ANC (Whether You Marry Here or Overseas)

The Rand’s weakness notwithstanding, many couples still plan their dream weddings overseas.  Likewise, many couples living overseas come back to South Africa to marry.  If you are one of them, ask your lawyer before you get married for advice on which country’s laws will apply to your marriage. Why get advice? In South Africa, our default marital regime is marriage “in community of property”, and for many couples that is the worst option. You may well be better off opting rather for the “out of community” option (with or without “accrual”).  The point is to make an informed choice rather…
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South African’s three marital systems

South African’s three marital systems

In South Africa there are only 3 possible marital systems for couples who are getting married to chose from. They are: A marriage in community of property (this is the default system!) A marriage out of community of property with the exclusion of the Accrual system A marriage out of community of property with the inclusion of the accrual system The choice between the 3 marital systems is very important since it will govern how your assets and liabilities (debts) will be dealt with, not only between the two of you, but also between you and other people. A very important…
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Love knows no borders – or does it?

Love knows no borders – or does it?

As anyone who has planned a wedding will tell you, "location" is one of the more important factors to consider.  While it is tempting to look outside of South Africa’s borders for a setting that is perfect for your special day, one might be cautioned against letting the golden sunset blind you to what’s missing in the picture: an ante-nuptial contract. When romance is in the air, it’s easy to forget some of the more practical aspects of a marriage. Matrimonial property regimes play a vital role in all marriages, and it’s important to make sure that your union will be guided according…
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