A voidable marriage in South Africa is a legally binding marriage unless the court grants it voidability. In essence, it is a marriage that can be invalidated by court decree based on specific grounds, primarily related to defects or issues that one party was unaware of at the time of marriage.
The Marriages Act 25 of 1961 outlines various defects that can render a marriage voidable in South Africa, including:
Minority: Marriage is generally prohibited for minors unless they obtain the necessary consent from their guardians or parents. A voidable marriage can occur if one party was unaware of the other’s age at the time of marriage.
Material Mistake: Voidable marriages can result from a material mistake, such as one party having an existing civil marriage, mental illness, 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 voided. Impotence: A voidable marriage can arise when one party is unaware of the other’s inability to engage in sexual intercourse at the time of marriage.
Sterility: A voidable marriage can occur if one party was unaware of the other’s inability to procreate when entering into the marriage.
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