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CaseLaw, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1552
Experience:  BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
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I have supported my common law wife years ,she has now come

Customer Question

I have supported my common law wife for 16 years ,she has now come into some money and wishes to simply pack back and desert me , I have kept her as best I could - did we split assets - can she just take the money and run
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

I'm afraid to tell you that in South Africa there is no such thing as a common law wife. Essentially there is no legal relationship between the two of you, and there is no legal duty of support or anything like that. That fact that you've supported her for all of these years does not mean that she "owes" you anything, and unfortunately she can simply pick up her stuff, and leave. You don't have a legal claim against her for your time, energy or effort you've put in in supporting her, and you don't have a legal claim against her for her to repay you anything. That's just the way things are.

The courts have held in numerous cases that a legal duty of support will only exist where people elect to actually get married. If they want to live as boyfriend and girlfriend, then they must realise that the law will not come to their assistance when their relationship breaks down.

I know that you feel that this is not fair, but it is the law. I'm really sorry to tell you that. If this is her attitude, then perhaps your relationship is not as strong as you thought. Perhaps this was always bound to happen?

If my answer hasn't answered all of your questions, please send me a REPLY with follow up questions so that I can continue to assist you in this same thread for as long as you need. Let me know if you need more advice - dont just rate my answer as "bad".

If my are HAPPY with my answer then please click one of the STAR ratings or the SMILEY FACES to rate my answer!

Good luck and best regards,


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