Wedding & Function
Wedding & Function

Marriage Laws

If you are getting married in South Africa, you will be subject to the Republic's marriage laws - the Marriage Act, 1961 (Act 25 of 1961). The marriage laws do not distinguish between South African citizens and foreigners – couples receive the same marriage license or marriage certificate.

Please note that the wedding couple must in all cases consult a registered marriage officer so that the wedding ceremony complies with the prescribed marriage laws at Home Affairs South Africa.

Under the South African Marriage Laws, a marriage is prohibited when:

  • Either one or both wedding parties are already married. Marriage law says an existing marriage can only be terminated through death or by a competent court of law.
  • The wedding couple are minors. Under South African marriage law, a minor may not enter into marriage unless the marriage officer is in possession of a written consent from either both parents or the guardian.
  • The wedding couple or a party has no capacity to enter in a marriage contract. This often refers to people suffering from mental disorders. A person who is insane, may, however, contract a valid marriage if it can be proven that the person is lucid and in full possession of his/her faculties when concluding the contract.

Click here to read a legal checklist on marriage laws

South African Marriage Laws strictly prohibit between close blood relatives. As indicated in the columns below, a man may not marry any person mentioned in column 1; and a woman may not marry any person mentioned in column 2.



Father’s mother
Mother’s mother
Son’s daughter
Daughter’s daughter
Wife’s mother
Wife’s daughter
Father’s wife
Son’s wife
Father’s father’s wife
Mother’s father’s wife
Wife’s father’s mother
Wife’s mother’s mother
Wife’s son’s daughter
Wife’s daughter’s daughter
Son’s son’s wife
Daughter’s son’s wife
Father’s sister
Mother’s sister
Brother’s daughter
Brother’s daughter’s daughter
Sister’s daughter
Sister’s daughter’s daughter
Sister’s son’s daughter

Father’s father
Mother’s father
Son’s son
Daughter’s son
Husband’s father
Husband’s son
Mother’s husband
Daughter’s husband
Father’s mother’s husband
Mother’s mother’s husband
Husband’s father’s father
Husband’s mother’s father
Husband’s son’s son
Husband’s daughter’s son
Son’s daughter’s husband
Daughter’s daughter’s husband
Father’s brother
Mother’s brother
Brother’s son
Brother’s son’s son
Sister’s son
Sister’s son’s son
Sister’s daughter’s son


Getting married in South Africa

The following are the noted general requirements for getting married in South Africa. Once again, you should consult a registered marriage officer in South Africa who is to perform the wedding ceremony to ensure compliance with the prescribed formalities.

Checklist of Documents to be Submitted:

  • Two (2) valid identification; one must be a photo ID.
  • A notarized declaration by the party concerned to the effect that the person is not aware of any lawful impediment to the proposed marriage.
  • There is no residency requirement for foreign nationals.
  • There is no blood testing requirement.

Marriage Contract

Marriage Laws in South Africa allow for the three options for the marriage contract:

In community of property
No ante-nuptial contract is required. The two respective estates become one as at the date of the marriage. E.g. If one spouse owned a house prior to the date of marriage, the other automatically becomes co-owner and is entitled to 50% of the value thereof upon death or divorce.

Out of community Property
An ante-nuptial contract is required. Both spouses remain owners of their respective estates. Upon death or divorce each party retains what is theirs, unless a court of law orders otherwise. When in business, this is a good option.

Accrual System
An ante-nuptial contract is required. Both spouses remain owners of their respective estates. However, upon death or divorce, the estates acquired during the marriage, are divided equally.

For more information visit the Home Affairs South Africa website here.