Discover the Benefits of Cohabitation Contracts
Drafting ServiceAs society evolves, people are increasingly choosing alternative forms of relationships. While traditional marriage remains popular, cohabitation is becoming more widespread. However, cohabiting couples must understand the legal implications of their decision, particularly regarding financial obligations and property ownership.
Cohabitation is when a couple lives together without being legally married to each other. In South Africa, this type of relationship is not legally recognised, unlike marriage, which is governed by specific laws that protect the parties involved. Many believe that being in a long-term relationship means being in a "common-law marriage," but this is a misconception.
Unmarried couples who live together do not have the same legal rights as those who are legally married. While cohabiting couples may not enjoy the same rights as married couples, South African courts have occasionally recognised the existence of a universal partnership between cohabitants.
A universal partnership allows for the sharing of property obtained before and during the relationship, similar to a marriage in community of property. However, it can be challenging to prove the existence of a universal partnership, and specific requirements must be met. To protect both partners' legal rights, it is recommended that they sign a cohabitation agreement.
This legally binding document outlines the couple's rights, obligations, and living arrangements, including property ownership, living expenses, and maintenance. A valid will is also essential, as cohabiting partners have no automatic right to inherit from each other, nor do they have the right to spousal maintenance if one partner dies. At Louwrens Koen Attorneys (Cohabitation Drafting Service), we understand the complexities of cohabitation agreements and wills.
We provide expert legal advice to protect cohabiting couples' rights.
Contact us today for more information.