South Africans getting married in another country | Legal Articles


Need Legal Advice?

No Matter What Your Bind We Can Help You



Legal Articles

South Africans getting married in another country

South Africans getting married in another country - How does it work?

If you are a South African citizen who is getting married in another country, it’s important that you understand all the legalities involved in this scenario.

destination weddings

The idea of destination weddings has gained popularity over the years as weddings have become more extravagant. Couples who are planning to tie the knot want to make the occasion as memorable as possible.

One can imagine how much planning a destination wedding requires. However, what happens when a South African couple is on holiday in England for example, and they decide on an impulse to get married?

Would they be married in or out of community property? Would they be married according to English law? This article serves to clarify these matters.

Are foreign marriages recognised in South Africa?

The most important part about this scenario is the husband’s domicile at the date of marriage. In other words, which country the husband considers to be his permanent home.

Another factor which affects domicile is his intention to remain in that country indefinitely.

Although domicile is primarily determined by intent, a good indication of it would be where a person is registered to vote.

Therefore, if the husbands place of domicile is Cape Town, the parties would be married in accordance with marriage laws in South Africa, not English law. Furthermore, their type of marriage would be that of in community of property.

Should the couple be planning a marriage outside of South Africa and wish to be married outside of community property, they would have had to sign an antenuptial contract before leaving for overseas.

If the marriage was unplanned, they would have to apply to court in order to register their antenuptial contract once they have returned back to South Africa.

Types of marriage in South Africa – Matrimonial property regimes

For more information on the types of matrimonial property regimes, see the following:

Marrying a foreigner and immigrating to South Africa

If, for example, the husband is domiciled in England and the couple get married in England and immigrate to South Africa, then they would be married in accordance with the English marriage law.

This applies in the same way if the husband is domiciled in any country other than South Africa.

In this case, the couple would be married outside of community property. Furthermore, even if both parties become citizens of South Africa, the English marital law will always apply to their marriage.

A South African court will be able to divorce such a couple. However, should the divorce be contested, the court would have to apply English law in its proceedings.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Attorneys in Sandton South Africa

Contact our experienced lawyers for assistance regarding the legal procedures involved with getting married in another country.


Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.


Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.