Civil Unions in South Africa


The Civil Unions Act of 2006 in South Africa allows couples to engage in a legally recognised partnership that is equivalent to marriage. Civil Unions are regarded as marriage in many different ways. The only difference is the section of the law that grants this partnership and recognises it as a legal partnership. Both the marriage and the civil union are accepted as legitimate partnerships in South Africa and a few other countries around the world. A civil union allows heterosexual and homosexual couples to commemorate their love for one another.

Civil Unions and Marriage

In South Africa, a civil union offers the same legal benefits and consequences as a marriage does. It has the same option to allow the couple to have an antenuptial agreement before entering into the civil union; or this partnership may also be made in community of property. It has the same proceedings and legal consequences in the event of a divorce. A common law marriage is recognised as a legitimate partnership in the eyes of the Civil Unions Act. There is very little difference in terms of legal recognition of a civil union in comparison to a marriage.

What Is the Difference Between A Marriage and A Civil Union?

While there is very little distinction between the two, it is mostly a religious difference and a difference of Acts. A marriage also has more requirements for the marriage to take place. Marriage allows minors the ability to wed if all the requirements of consent have been met. There are legal restrictions for a person to become married in terms of a family relationship pre-existing before the intention of marriage, such as a woman may not marry her father or son.
Whereas with a civil union, the two parties may engage in this partnership if: both parties are of the age of 18, or they are older. Both parties may not already be in a marriage in terms of any other act.

Michael Krawitz

Ensure that you get the best legal advice for your civil union, whether it is for an antenuptial agreement, advice, mediation or a divorce. Trust that you are within the parameters of the law and that you receive the best advice for your needs. Contact Michael Krawitz Attorneys today.

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