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Question
Posted by: Sarah | 2011-11-16

Common law partner

Hello
I wonder if you can shed some light on a situation. If one has been living together with their partner for over 10 yrs - and the one partners incurs debt - by law does the other partner have to help pay the debt off?

That is my one question.

The other question is - lets say that the house was bought in the one partners name - if the two split up - do the assests get shared?

Thank you
:-) Sarah

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

In South African law, there is no such thing as a Common Law Marriage. There is no common law marriage in South African law and therefore the duration that a couple spend living together does not translate into a default marriage. The consequence is that at the dissolution of the relationship the assets or any obligations are determined or distributed on a basis of the arrangement that parties used during the subsistence of their relationship. Many people believe that simply living together with another person for a continuous period of time establishes legal rights and duties between them. Some people believe that the duration of the relationship creates legal protection while others think that having children together entitles the cohabitation relationship to legal protection. Many people do not know that there is actually no legal recognition of domestic partnerships.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: FIO | 2011-11-27

As " cold"  as it may seem, the one real reason for getting married, aside from assumed love and all that stuff, is to draft a contract that protects each person should the partnership break up. Hence the 3 basic type of marriage contracts.

If one chooses nto to get married, one can still draft a contract in terms of assets etc, but in the absence of this there is no claim. Common Law marriages/partnerships dont exist, only traditional marriages etc, but they are only deemed valid if registered, so if not registered no partner will be able to claim any form of " protection" .

Reply to FIO
Posted by: G-Dad | 2011-11-21

There is no thing as common law partner, common law marriages is the term used for traditional marriages.
If you have not signed for the debt you can not legally be held responsible.

Unless less the house was registered in both partners names, or the other partner has proof of payments made to the bond, there can be no claim towards the house.

No contract, no claim on a partnership.

Reply to G-Dad

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