Life partner meaning south africa
Civil partnerships were introduced in South Africa by the Civil Union Act, , which also legalised same-sex marriage. Civil partnerships can be formed by opposite-sex couples and by same-sex couples, and have the same rights, responsibilities and legal consequences as marriages. The parties to a civil partnership must be 18 or older and not already married or in a civil partnership. The prohibited degrees of affinity and consanguinuity that apply to a marriage under the Marriage Act also apply under the Civil Union Act;  thus a person may not form a civil partnership with his or her direct ancestor or descendant, sibling, uncle or aunt, niece or nephew, or the ancestor or descendant of an ex-spouse. Civil partnerships must be solemnised by an authorised marriage officer.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What to look for in a life partner?
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: EMMANUEL MAKANDIWA ON LIFE PARTNERContent:
- Cohabitation and the Law in South Africa
- Interpretation: Useful definition of ‘spouse’
- South African family law
- Are you a Common-law spouse?
- Life Partner Permits South Africa
- The Difference Between a Life Partner Permit and a Spousal Permit
- Common Law Marriage and Living Together
- Learn about the requirements for a life partner
- Cohabitation – What is it?
- Civil partnership in South Africa
Cohabitation and the Law in South Africa
Family law. Forfeiture of Assets in a Divorce. UK Divorce Laws. Marriage and Relationship Therapists. Conflict and dispute-resolution mechanisms. Maintenance and Cohabitation Sample Cohabitation Agreement Engagement and the law Formalities for marriage in south africa. Cohabitation and the Law in South Africa. Cohabitation, also referred to as a common law marriage, living together or a domestic partnership, is not recognised as a legal relationship by South African law.
There is, therefore, no law that regulates the rights of parties in a cohabitation relationship. Cohabitation generally refers to people who, regardless of gender, live together without being validly married to each other. In the past, these relationships were called extramarital cohabitation. Put simply, men and women living together do not have the rights and duties married couples have.
Because their relationship is not recognised by the law as a marriage, the rights and duties that marriage confers do not apply. This is the case irrespective of the duration of the relationship. Therefore contrary to popular belief, the assumption that if you stay with your partner for a certain amount of time a common law marriage comes into existence whereby you will obtain certain benefits is incorrect. In South Africa, cohabitation has become more common over the past few years and the number of cohabitants increases by almost per cent each year.
Cohabitation and legislation Unlike marriage, which is regulated by specific laws that protect the individuals in the relationship, cohabitation offers no such comfort. For example, when a cohabitant dies without a valid will, their partner has no right to inherit under the Interstate Succession Act.
A cohabitant can also not rely on the provisions of the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act to secure maintenance on the death of a partner. Furthermore, there is no obligation on cohabitants to maintain each other and they have no enforceable right to claim maintenance.
South African banks normally do not allow joint accounts for cohabitants. Therefore, the partner in whose name the bank account is will be liable for any monies owed to the bank in case of an overdraft or loan. The law as it stands is unsatisfactory, simply because it does not place cohabitants on the same footing as partners in a marriage or civil union. Fortunately, the South African law on cohabitation will soon be rectified by the draft Domestic Partnerships Bill that was published in January Until the Bill is adopted into legislation, however, the status of cohabitants in South Africa will remain significantly different from spouses in a marriage and partners in a civil union.
Although legally cohabitants do not have the same rights as partners in a marriage or civil union, the South African courts have on occasion come to the assistance of couples by deciding that an express or implied universal partnership exists between them. A universal partnership exists when parties act like partners in all material respects without explicitly entering into a partnership agreement.
In these cases, where the relationship breaks down, the court awards a share of the assets acquired during the relationship to each party.
To succeed with a universal partnership claim, it must be proved that: both partners contributed to a specific joint venture in some form or other through their labour, capital or skill; the venture was conducted for the benefit of both partners; the venture was conducted for profit; and a universal partnership came into existence. In one matter before the Supreme Court of Appeal, it was held that the man and woman in question, who had lived together as husband and wife for nearly twenty years, had tacitly entered into a universal partnership in which the female partner had a 30 per cent interest.
Universal partnerships aside, there is some legislation that places cohabitation and marriage on an equal footing: Cohabitation is recognised under the Domestic Violence Act. Either partner in a cohabitation relationship may name the other as a beneficiary in a life-insurance policy.
The law does not distinguish between married and unmarried parents in regard to the obligation to maintain children. Decisions regarding care and contact are based on what is in the best interests of the child.
Children are protected if the couple is not married since both biological parents are responsible for the maintenance of their children. The father and mother are both still liable for maintenance if the couple splits up.
This will not apply to same sex couples as both cannot share a biological link with the child. A domestic partner may receive pension fund benefits as a nominee. Cohabitation agreements Life partners regardless of their sex are permitted to enter into a contract similar to an antenuptial contract that regulates their respective obligations during the subsistence of their union and the patrimonial consequences of the termination thereof.
Such agreements are sometimes referred to as cohabitation contracts or domestic partnership agreements. Such an agreement will usually contain regulations regarding finances during the existence of the cohabitation relationship and deal with the division of property, goods and assets upon its termination. Parties may even include an express provision for the payment of maintenance upon termination. If one partner refuses to follow the agreement, the other partner can approach a court for assistance.
In most cases, a court will enforce the agreement. Cohabitants who fail to draw up a cohabitation agreement or contract will have no legal protection, unless they can prove the existence of a universal partnership. The contents and nature of a cohabitation agreement will depend on the needs of the parties.
The parties may include any provision in the agreement that is not illegal, against the morals of society or contrary to public policy. When the relationship ends Claiming back As no reciprocal duty of support between partners in a domestic partnership exists, there is no enforceable right to claim maintenance, either during or upon termination by death or otherwise of the relationship, unless maintenance is regulated in a cohabitation agreement.
There is also no action for claiming damages in the event of the unlawful death of a partner. Cohabitants cannot reclaim monies that they spent on maintaining their partner during the relationship, unless they can make out a case for unjust enrichment.
Similarly, donations made between partners in a cohabitation relationship cannot be claimed back by the donor. A cohabitation agreement will have no effect either, as it would not be enforceable against the pension fund. It still needs to be decided by our courts whether or not this amounts to discrimination on the basis of marital status, especially since cohabitants can be awarded these assets on the death of their partners.
Cohabitants also cannot bind their partners to contracts with third parties for household goods. Property A partner may apply to court for an order to divide the property of the other partner in a fair manner.
Owned property In the absence of a cohabitation agreement or a proven universal partnership, private property acquired by the cohabitants prior to their relationship belongs to the partner who originally acquired it and no community of property can be established. It therefore follows that a cohabitant who is not the owner of the property has no special right to occupy the common home.
Cohabitation per se does not give rise to automatic property rights, but the ordinary rules of the law of contract, property and unjustified enrichment might be invoked by cohabitants to enforce their rights.
In terms of the Domestic Violence Act, a right of occupation is conferred upon a cohabitant. The Act also provides remedies for violence, including orders preventing the owner of the common home from entering or living in it, and from ejecting the non-owning partner. Similarly, if there is no cohabitation agreement or proven universal partnership between the cohabitants, property bought during the relationship will belong to the purchaser thereof, unless it can be proven otherwise.
They are also both liable for the expenses and losses associated with the running and upkeep of the property. The mortgage bond will be in both their names, thus they will be jointly and severally liable for paying the bond.
Unjustified enrichment is the general principle that one person should not be able to benefit unfairly at the expense of another. The court will normally appoint a receiver or liquidator who will dispose of the property by way of a private sale or public auction. The court has a wide discretion and may even award the property to one partner subject to the payment of compensation to the other.
In addition, the cohabitant who owns the property can sell it without notifying the other. In a similar vein, if the cohabitants acquired goods together, they both have a legal right to such goods. Upon termination of the relationship, if the couple is unable to agree how to divide the goods, either may approach the court to institute a division of the assets.
In such cases, the court will normally appoint a receiver or liquidator to sell the assets and pay the proceeds to the parties. The court normally has a wide discretion and will make an order that is fair and equitable under the circumstances. Leased property If cohabitants enter into a joint lease, they will be jointly liable for the rent. If the lease agreement states that they are both jointly and severally liable, then they each may be liable for the whole amount of the rent.
Where the relationship is terminated before the lease has expired, the parties will have a deadlock if they cannot decide who is to remain in the home. In this event, they both have a right to remain in the home. If they do decide, and the lease agreement creates joint and several liability, if the cohabitant who remains defaults on rent payments, the lessor will have a claim for full payment against both parties.
Where the cohabitants decide between themselves that one partner will be indemnified from further liabilities to pay rent, such an agreement will only be valid and binding between the two of them.
The lessor may still hold both of them liable for rent payment. In cases where the lease agreement is signed by only one partner, the non-tenant partner has no legal rights and responsibilities, and is therefore not liable to pay rent.
Cohabitation and death Inheritance There is no right of intestate succession when someone dies without a will between domestic partners, no matter how long they have lived together. A partner is not automatically regarded as an heir or dependant. The rules of intestate succession as set out in the Intestate Succession Act, , are clear. In the event of there being no valid will, the beneficiaries are, in the first instance, a spouse or descendants or both.
In the event of there being no spouse or descendants, the estate devolves upon other more distant members of the bloodline. Proving actual contribution is often extremely difficult, especially when a partner has died. Litigation is usually lengthy, costly and unwelcome, particularly at a time already fraught with emotional trauma.
This problem is exacerbated if the deceased had not divorced a previous spouse. In law, the first spouse clearly has the leverage to proceed and claim the entire estate. There is no obstacle to making specific provision for a domestic partner in a will. Legal Notices.
Interpretation: Useful definition of ‘spouse’
Family law. Forfeiture of Assets in a Divorce. UK Divorce Laws. Marriage and Relationship Therapists. Conflict and dispute-resolution mechanisms.
These permits are issued to people who are in serious relationships, where one person is a South African citizen or Permanent resident and they would like their partner to immigrate to SA. Common law marriage and two people who are living together would fall into this category. It is necessary that you prove that your relationship is a long standing one, but there is no duration required when applying for this type of permit. A spousal permit is different.
South African family law
This applies to both hetrosexual couples as well as same-sex couples and is eligable for for a long stay period. Life partner visas are ideal for those who are in a serious relationship and looking to reside in South Africa for an extended period and a stepping stone to applying for permanent residence in the future. Quick Assessment. Full Assessment. Life partners of South Africans may apply for a life partner visa which falls under the temporary residence category. When applying for a life partner visa there is an onus on proving the relationship is valid, of a permanent nature and in this case, that cohabitation has existed for at least 2 years. Temporary residence visas are issued for an initial period, typically for 2 or 3 years. Applications can be made to extend this period subject to the relationship still existing.
Are you a Common-law spouse?
The requirements for a life partner permit may seem straight forward but are often over simplified in their explanation. With life partners permit applications the key area is proving the relationship and clearly understanding what a life partner permit allows the holder to do. So if you are in a relationship with a South Africa, but not married, below we discuss the most important information about what the requirements for a life partner permit for immigration to South Africa are as well as some must knows. Importantly, and one that can cause much confusion, is the very fact you are not married. The good news is this does not prevent you from entering and staying in South Africa and as we will learn later working, studying or setting up a business.
TIP: Draw up a Will and nominate your partner in your pension fund using the nomination of beneficiary form, should you want any assets to be left to your partner in case of your death. In South Africa no matter how long a couple may live together, the law does not recognise common-law marriages as being valid. Their cohabitation living together does not create any automatic legal rights and duties between them.
Life Partner Permits South Africa
Common law marriage — Contrary to widely held belief, South African couples who live together do not become legally married under common law after a set period of time. Technically, partners living together have no legal duties towards each other, even if they have been together for a very long time. This form of domestic partnership is not currently recognised under South African law. As more couples choose to live together rather than get married, changes are being made to the law that will give unmarried couples the opportunity to establish legal partnership rights.
Life partner permits and visas are not commonly known and accessing information about them can be difficult, but qualifying people should look to ensure they consider applying within the life partner permit or visa category as it can have some excellent benefits. Below we discuss both the life partner permit for permanent residence, and the life partner visa for temporary residence. You can find more specific information on each by simply following the links or in further information. To successfully apply for a life partner permit or visa there are a number of different criteria the applicants must meet. Proving cohabitation is also a key element as the length of cohabitation will dictate whether you may qualify for a life partner permit permanent residence or a life partner visa temporary residence.
The Difference Between a Life Partner Permit and a Spousal Permit
Note: all documents issued by the issuing authority of the country of origin shall be original or certified copies and where applicable translated into english, which translation shall be certified as a correct translation by a sworn translator. Applicants must renew their temporary resident visa whilst awaiting the outcome for permanent residence permit. Toggle Navigation. Department of Home Affairs: Providing "people-centred" services! Applicants must renew their temporary resident visa whilst awaiting the outcome for permanent residence permit VFS appointment letter.
Common Law Marriage and Living Together
Learn about the requirements for a life partner
Cohabitation – What is it?
Civil partnership in South Africa