Understanding what defines ‘just cause’ in the context of a breach of promise claim is crucial under South African matrimonial law. Just cause refers to a legally recognised and valid reason for someone to break their promise to marry, without facing the usual legal consequences. This aspect of family law is particularly complex, as it involves navigating the fine line between personal reasons and legal defenses.
Typically, just cause might include situations where there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as an undisclosed prior marriage, or serious undisclosed health issues that would significantly impact the marriage. It can also involve cases where new, crucial information about a partner comes to light after the promise was made, which had it been known earlier, would have prevented the engagement altogether.
It’s important for individuals engaged or considering engagement to understand that ‘just cause’ is not a blanket term for any reason to break off an engagement. The reasons must be substantial and legally valid. This knowledge is vital in both protecting one’s rights and understanding the legal boundaries of engagement promises.
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