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Civil Unions

Civil Unions

Civil Union Act, 2006

The Civil Union Act, 2006 came into effect on 30 November 2006, with the aim to provide for the solemnization of civil unions by way of either a marriage or civil partnership, the legal consequences of civil unions and incidentals.

DEFINITIONS

A "Civil Union" in Section 1 of the Act, is described as "the voluntary union of two persons who are both 18 years of age or older, which is solemnized and registered by a civil partnership, in accordance with procedures prescribed in this Act, to the exclusion, while it lasts, of all others" and is dissolved by death or divorce. Parties entering into a union in terms of the Civil Union Act have a choice as to whether their union is called a civil partnership or a marriage partnership and is referred to as "civil union partners". There is no difference between the personal and proprietary consequences thereof.

  WHO MAY OR MAY NOT ENTER INTO THIS UNION IN TERMS OF SECTION 8?

•A person may only be a spouse or partner in one marriage or civil partnership at any given time;

•A person in a Civil Union may not conclude a marriage under the Marriage Act or Customary Marriages Act, and vice versa.

LEGAL CONSEQUENCES IN TERMS OF SECTION 13

The Marriages Act apply with such changes as may be required; and With the exception of the Marriage Act and the Customary Marriages Act, any reference to –

(a) Marriage in any other law, including the common law, includes with such changes as may be required by the context, a civil union; and

(b) Husband, wife or souse in any other law, including the common law, includes a civil union partner.

IMPACT

Parties who wish to enter into this union may enter into an ante nuptial contract in order for the marital property regime to be "out of community of property"; whilst in the absence of such an ante nuptial contract the marital property regime of the union will be considered to be "in community of property".

DESCRIPTION OF PARTIES

With Ante Nuptial Contract:

ABC

Identity Number (123450 0000 000)

Partner in a civil partnership out of community of property registered in terms of the Civil Union Act No 17 of 2006 without Ante Nuptial Contract

ABC

Identity Number (123450 0000 000)

And XYZ

Identity Number (123450 1111 111)

Partners in a civil partnership in community of property registered in terms of the Civil Union Act No 17 of 2006.

PLEASE note that government is yet to deal with domestic partnerships.