Information on common law marriages is essential when you have been in a relationship for an extended period of time without getting married. Common law marriage is said to have occurred when two people have been in a relationship for a particular length of time and have been conducting themselves as a married couple. This means that the couple has to have been living together as if they were husband and wife for this law to apply. However, it is very important to note that in South Africa, the legal system does not afford any rights to couples who in other countries would be considered to be in a common law marriage.
This has a serious impact when a couple who believe they have entered in to a common law marriage decide to split up as they may not be aware of the information on common law marriages in South Africa. For example, in other countries, if you are considered to be common law partners then you are afforded the same rights as a married couple that are getting a divorce. This means that you can be granted compensation to the same amount that a spouse would receive. However, that does not apply in South Africa and you therefore have to be legally married in order to get divorced or conduct similar proceedings and the length of time that you have been in a relationship is irrelevant.
It is therefore imperative that you know your rights when you have a relationship with a person that has lasted for an extended period of time and has you conducting your life as if you were married. In South Africa, to have any sort of legal backing when splitting up, you have to have been husband and wife in order to get a divorce. This may seem all very complicated so if you are unsure of your standing in a relationship and your rights, then you should seek legal advice on the information on common law marriages.