Due to the high divorce rate in South Africa, there is a growing percentage of couples who choose to live together rather than to get married.
These relationships are sometimes referred to as “common law marriages”, which are not yet recognised in our law. However, parties can rely on the principles of a universal partnership to share in assets, but will have to proof the existence of such a partnership based on certain requirements, which can be difficult and costly.
The Domestic Partnership Bill, once introduced into law, will regulate the legal status of all couples in a domestic relationship. Until then, it is crucial to know your rights and have a written agreement in place for protection in terms of assets, pension funds, maintenance and inheritance.