6 Things You Didn’t Know About Marriage and Divorce in South Africa
South Africa’s divorce law is not that much different than in other parts of the world. However, there are a few things you might not have known about our rainbow nation when it comes to divorce. Here is a list of six unexpected facts about marriage and divorce law in South Africa that you might not have known.
Where to Get Married
The law that governs your marriage depends on your country of domicile. This is the country you designate to be your permanent home. You can be married or have a wedding outside of South Africa, but if your chosen place of permanent residence is South Africa, then South African law governs your marriage.
The Age of Divorcees
Most men in South Africa are around the age of 43 years old when they get divorced. Women, on the other hand, are about 40 years old when they get divorced. Divorce rates in South Africa have also been on the rise in comparison with previous years.
Minors Can Get Married
Did you know that a minor child can get legally married in South Africa? Children over the age of puberty, which is 12 years old for girls and 14 years old for boys, may get married if the necessary consent has been obtained from their parents or guardians. This might come as a shock, but in some cultures, it’s not out of the ordinary to get married at a very young age.
Adultery and Divorce
A judge or magistrate may grant a divorce order on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. Adultery may lead to an irretrievable breakdown when at least one spouse finds it impossible to continue a normal marriage relationship as a result of adultery, but adultery in itself is not a legal reason for divorce.
Keep Your Maiden Name
A wife can keep her ex-husband’s surname or change her surname after divorce. An application at a Home Affairs office must first be lodged, together with a small fee to change a surname. Many women don't go to the trouble of changing back to their maiden names after divorce, because they have been known by their surname for most of their professional careers.
Women Make the First Move
Women are more likely to initiate divorce proceedings than men. Most couples in South Africa also tend to get divorced after five to nine years of marriage. These days, divorce is a lot more common than it was in previous years.
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