• Fanie Botha

Getting Married in South Africa

Marriage is not a business transaction, but as in the case of any other transaction, there are certain administrative and legal tasks that need to be attended to beforehand. It's essential to keep track of all the legalities you have to do when you get married. If you are planning on getting married, you should ensure that you are legally allowed to get married. You have to understand the legal consequences of a marriage for example - that marriages in South Africa are by default in community of property, unless a valid ante-nuptial contract has been entered into before the marriage. You should also ensure that your marriage will comply with all the legal requirements for a valid marriage.

Before your wedding day you must present the following documents to the person officiating your wedding:

  • Identity documents(for each person getting married)

  • If a foreign national is marrying a South African citizen, they should both present their valid passports as well as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of no impediment)

  • If the wedding is for a minor (a person under the age of 18 years), the written consent of both parents/ legal guardian or the Commissioner of Child Welfare or a judge should be submitted on Form DHA-32 as well. If the minors getting married are under the ages of 18 for boys or 15 for girls, the written consent from the Minister of Home Affairs will also be required

  • If any of the persons getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be furnished

  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.

However, before the actual date, the first important decision concerns the dispensations the marriage is to take. Will it be in or out of community of property? As previously mentioned, if the marriage is in accordance with South African law and no ante-nuptial contract is entered into before the actual date, the marriage will by default be in community of property. An expert should be consulted in this regard. The contract must be drawn up by an attorney and all documents must be completed and signed before the marriage ceremony. Other important administrative matters include the drawing up of a will. A will is not obligatory for your marriage, but it is a necessity for your future together. If one or both of the partners already have a valid will and/or policies with beneficiaries that needs to be changed, it is important to attend to this as a matter of urgency, otherwise the will and/or policies will remain in force. Changes to medical and pension funds are also important. Financial planning with regard to, among others, bank affairs and the reviewing of long- and short-term insurance, is also recommended.

Before you take the leap into matrimony, sit down for a serious conversation with your potential spouse and address the legal issues that are essential before getting married. Should you be unsure of any of these, our legal counseling should be sought before the marriage is entered into. Contact us directly - info@legallymarried.co.za for an appointment.

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