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Legal Documents Required For Marriage – Divorce

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You’re now engaged and have started planning for the big day
on which you get to say, “I do!”. You have your guests
list, venue and even photographer ready, but have you got your
legal ducks in a row?

Tying the knot can be an exciting process and experience for the
bridal party. Still, it can similarly be stressful and complicated
if you and your future spouse do not take the time to figure out
the legal aspect of marriage and what you need to enter a

Know What You’re Signing Up For!

Before addressing what documents one needs to enter a marriage,
it is prudent to know what legal marriage is. Simply put, legally,
a marriage can be seen, in its traditional sense, as an agreement
between intended spouses to have their relationship legally
recognized by solemnizing and registering that relationship.

In South Africa, the law recognizes three forms of

  • Customary Marriage: A recognized union in the
    Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998. Like
    Civil Marriages, Customary Marriages are traditionally between an
    opposite-sex couple, but unlike the former, Customary Marriages are
    not limited to monogamous relationships. But if a male wishes to
    enter into more than one customary marriage, he must, at his own
    expense, approach a court for the regulation of that1.
    It is possible for a monogamous couple married under customary law
    to register a civil marriage too if the male has not entered
    another customary marriage with another woman.

  • Civil Marriage: A recognized union between a
    heterosexual couple governed by the Marriage Act 25 of
    , the most common form of marriage.

  • Civil Union: A recognized union between
    same–sex and governed by the Civil Union Act 17 of
    . This form of union was aimed at recognizing
    same–sex marriages but has been extended to include
    opposite–sex couples. This form of union affords the same
    privileges as a Civil Marriage.

What Do You Need To Register Your Customary

You will need to present yourself at the Department of Home
Affairs (“DHA”) or a Traditional Leader with at least one
representative/family member of the bridal couple’s respective
families (i.e., one relative or representative from the bride’s
family, and one from the groom’s family).

At the DHA, you must bring your ID and complete a BI –
1700 form.

What do you need to register your Civil Marriage?

The DHA’s website has provided a list of documents required
to register your marriage. Simply put, you will need the

  1. You will need to bring your ID’s (and a copy of each if the
    marriage is not officiated at the DHA). If you are previously
    divorced or widowed, you must submit a copy of your divorce decree
    and/or a copy of your deceased spouse’s death certificate.

  2. If one of the intended spouses is a foreign national, you must
    bring both your valid passports and complete a BI – 31 forms.
    You must additionally bring a letter of non-impediment from the
    country of origin of the foreign intended spouse and a certificate
    of non-impediment from your local consulate /embassy.

  3. If a minor is getting married, a written consent form from both
    parents of the minor child must be submitted. If the minor is
    younger than 15 years of age, a consent form must also be obtained
    from the Minister of Home Affairs.

  4. In all instances mentioned above, you must also bring two

What Do You Need To Register Your Civil Union?

  1. You will also need to bring your ID’s (and valid passports
    if one of the partners is a foreign national).

  2. If you are previously divorced or widowed, you must submit a
    copy of your divorce decree and/or a copy of your deceased
    spouse’s death certificate.

  3. You will also need to complete a declaration for the purpose of
    marriage (DHA-1763 form) as well a separate form indicating whether
    the partners will be entering into either a Civil Union Marriage or
    Civil Union Partnership (DHA-1766 form).


In the hopes of planning your wedding to eliminate unnecessary
stress, you and/or your partner should attend to the nearest branch
of the DHA and go to the Marriage Office, or visit the DHA’s
website to download the respective application forms.
Notwithstanding the above, should you and your partner, or intended
spouse, wish to know more about the marriage process, it is
worthwhile to approach an attorney and discuss the marital regimes
in-depth and the appropriate form of union.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Family and Matrimonial from South Africa

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