The Civil Union Act (Act No.17 of 2006) is an act of the Parliament of South Africa which allows same-sex couples to get married or form a civil partnership.
There is no law that regulates civil partnerships (which can also be referred to as a same-sex partnership), the same goes for other heterosexual relationships that are not recognised as a legal relationship in the eyes of the law in South Africa.
When same-sex couples get married in terms of the Civil Union Act, the same principles will apply to the dissolution of their marriage as if they were married under the Marriage Act, and divorced.
If a same-sex couple does not marry or register their union in terms of the Civil Union Act, the termination of their relationship will be the same as couples who are in cohabitation relationships.
There is no legislation that requires partners to meet a specific criteria in order for their relationship to qualify as a same-sex life partnership.
However, there are factors to consider when assessing whether a same-sex relationship exists or not:
There is a clear distinction between a same-sex life partnership where partners have taken on the responsibility of maintaining each other reciprocally, and one where the partners have not assumed such responsibilities.
If the partners have no proof of an agreement that the partners have to maintain each other, a court will look at each case and decide whether responsibility had been assumed.
If you require legal assistance with regards to a civil partnership / civil union marriage, contact our attorneys at Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated. We provide expert legal advice and can assist with all matter relating to marriage agreements and antenuptial contracts.
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