The Advantages and Disadvantages of Civil Marriage in South Africa

When exploring options as a long-term couple, many wonder whether they should tie the knot legally, and what the advantages and disadvantages of doing so are. Civil marriages are recognised and fully protected by the law, as are the other valid marriages in South Africa, namely customary marriages and civil unions. In order to enjoy the benefits from a legally recognised marriage, couples should familiarise themselves with the different marital regimes in South Africa, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of civil marriage.

What is Civil Marriage?

A civil marriage is whereby the state grants a couple legal recognition of their partnership in accordance to the marriage laws of the country. In South Africa, the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 governs the civil unions between spouses.

What Are the Advantages of Civil Marriage?

Civil marriage awards partners with legal benefits that can only be enjoyed by couples who are bound by a legally recognised marriage. These benefits work to protect both parties throughout their marriage, and for cases of death or divorce. The legal benefits of a civil marriage include protecting one another with:

Support – being married obligates you to a duty of support to one another depending on each party’s needs.

Maintenance – spousal maintenance can be claimed when a spouse dies from the deceased estate.

Inheritance – spouses can also benefit from the estate of the deceased, even when maintenance is not required.

Termination – in cases of divorce, spouses are entitled to a portion of the property, depending on the marital regime.

What Are the Disadvantages of Civil Marriage?

The disadvantage of a civil marriage is the fact that it is not as easy to terminate. There is much more to it than ending a relationship of a couple who are not legally bound to one another. However, by taking the advice of professional divorce attorneys, one can legally separate with expert assistance that will work at getting it done both the easiest way, as well as the way which will be most beneficial to all parties involved. Other disadvantages usually come about when detailed marriage contracts were not drawn up by professionals.

Gain all the legal benefits of a civil marriage, and protect yourself from the disadvantages, by contacting Engelbrecht Attorneys, specialists in marriage and divorce law.