Parties to a Customary Marriage

The Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998 recognises customary marriages which are concluded according to customs and traditions.

Customary marriages are recognised irrespective of whether a person is a spouse in more than one customary marriage.

Although a husband to a customary marriage may enter into further customary marriages, he may not enter into a civil marriage with another person; parties to a customary marriage who are not party to further customary marriages, may enter into a civil marriage with one another.

A customary marriage must be registered by the spouses within 3 months after the conclusion thereof, however, failure to do so does not invalidate the marriage.

Proprietary Consequences


If a parties to a customary marriage who are not part of further customary marriages had concluded the marriage after the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984 in the same way the Act applies to other marriages. Therefore such a customary marriage will be a marriage in community of property unless the spouses enter into an antenuptial contract to regulate the matrimonial property system.


Further Marriages


Should a spouse in a customary marriage wish to enter into a further customary marriage an application should be made to the court to have the matrimonial property system adjusted to effect an equitable distribution of assets and to regulate the further marriages.




At Du Toits Attorneys and Mediators we can assist you with your matrimonial law questions and issues.

If you wish to come and see us about any issue you may need assistance with, feel free to contact us to arrange a consultation so we may assist with your matter.

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