Things You Need to Know

Before your big day


  1. Form DHA-32 to be completed and signed by either both parents or legal guardians for each party under the age of 18.
  2. If the Bride is younger than 15 and/or the Bridegroom is younger than18, permission to the marriage is needed from The Commissioner of Child Welfare.
  3. If any party is divorced a copy of the final decree of divorce is required
  4. If any divorced party is not a South African Citizen, your copy of Final Divorce Decree needs to be Authenticated and not just Certified, at the South African Mission or Embassy in your Country of Origen. See attached Letter from SA Home Affairs.
  5. If any party is a widower or widow a copy of the death certificate is required.
  6. If any party is not a South African Citizen, a copy of your Passport’s page of your photo + the page with your residence permit / visa and a Form Bl 31 is required.  Download and print from:
  7. Two witnesses, one for each of the couple to sign the register. Must be 18 or older. I need a copy of their ID documents. If your witnesses are Non SA Citizens we need copies of their passports.

Wedding Contract

In terms of South African Law, people can either marry in community of property or out of community of property. Your choice will determine your proprietary rights during your marriage, as well as when it is dissolved - either by death or divorce. It is essential that you elect your matrimonial regime prior to the marriage; as to try to change it thereafter is an expensive and time-consuming process.  You and your spouse will have to make a joint application to the High Court for authority to change your matrimonial property system. There are a lot of formalities involved including placing an advertisement in the newspaper to notify creditors.

You are automatically married in community of property in terms of South African Law if you did not sign an Antenuptial Contact prior to your marriage. The Antenuptial Contact also had to be attested before an attorney who is a Notary prior to the marriage, as only a Notary can execute an Antenuptial Contract.  The contract will then be lodged in the Deeds Registries Office for registration.

'In community of property' means that everything each individual spouse owned and each of their individual debts from before their marriage are put together in a joint estate. From this point onwards everything they earn or buy after their marriage will also form part of this joint estate, including any debt and liabilities incurred by either one of them.

Should one spouse be reckless with his financial affairs, it will adversely affect the other spouse, as they will be liable for each other's debts. The spouses will however also be joint owners of all property in the estate. Both spouses therefore have equal rights of ownership and administration over all the assets.

There are various transactions that require the consent of both spouses. The most prejudicial consequence of marrying in community of property, is that assets in the joint estate are vulnerable to the claims of creditors of both spouses and very little can be done to protect against this vulnerability. This marital regime is not recommended for spouses running independent businesses.

Our Insolvency Division often has to deal with clients who were married without having had the benefit of professional advice regarding the registration of an Antenuptial Contract. This may lead to premarital or post-marital liabilities that become communal and thereby endangering the good standing of not just one, but both partners.

The only real advantage of being married in community of property is that it is based on the fact that marriage is a partnership and as such it can be conducive to a harmonious marriage relationship as it promotes both legal and economic equality of the spouses.