A voidable marriage in South Africa is a marriage that is considered legally valid unless a court grants its voidability. The court can declare a marriage voidable based on specific grounds, typically defects that one or both parties were unaware of at the time of marriage.
The Marriages Act 25 of 1961 outlines several defects that can render a marriage voidable in South Africa:
Minority: In general, minors are prohibited from entering into marriage. However, a marriage can be declared voidable if one party was unaware that the other was underage and required the consent of a guardian to marry.
Material Mistake: A marriage can be voided if one or both parties were unaware of critical facts at the time of marriage, including existing civil marriages to others, mental illness of one party, or a prohibited degree of relationship between the parties.
Stuprum: If the wife is pregnant with another man’s child at the time of marriage, and the husband was unaware of this fact, the marriage can be declared voidable.
Impotence: When one party is unaware of the other party’s inability to engage in sexual intercourse at the time of marriage, it can lead to voidability.
Sterility: A marriage can be voidable if one party was unaware of the other party’s inability to procreate when they entered into the marriage.
Read more on Voidable Marriages