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Dissolution of customary marriages

The requirements for the validity of a customary marriage are that the two parties must be over 18, and that consent to marry must be entered into in accordance with customary law. Should one of the parties be a minor, both parents must give their consent to the marriage. These requirements are similar to the requirements for the validity of a marriage according to South African Law.

A customary marriage must be registered within three months. The registering officer will register the marriage and issue a certificate of registration if satisfied that a valid customary marriage exists. Customary marriages entered into after the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, which came into operation on 15 November 2000, are in community of property, unless an Antenuptial Contract has been drafted. Should a husband in a customary marriage wish to enter into further customary marriages during the course of the marriage, he must apply to court for their approval.

Just like the normal principles applicable in South African divorce law, in the event of dissolution of a customary marriage, one of the parties must prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, and that no reasonable prospect exists for the restoration of a normal marital relationship.

The Mediation in Certain Divorce Matters Act 24 of 1987 and s6 of the Divorce Act 70 of 1979 will apply.

A court granting a divorce:

The role of any person in mediation, in accordance with customary law, of a dispute or matter arising prior to the dissolution of a customary marriage by a court is not limited by the dissolution section.

Related articles

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Divorce in customary law


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