The Marriage Act provides that a marriage can only be conducted in a licensed place of worship, or a licensed venue. A garden wedding is only lawful if the couple gets a special license from the registrar of marriages to conduct the wedding at the selected venue.
My boyfriend and I, with whom I have an eight-year-old son, broke up three years ago. Later, I met a man who was also raising his son alone after parting with his wife.
We moved in together, and though I treated his son as if he were my own, I could tell right away that he resented mine, even though he provided everything, including paying my son’s school fees.
Eventually, I decided to end the relationship because of this. Does the law allow me to sue him for child support?
If you and your child lived with this man for more than 12 months, and during this period he supported and took care of him like he would his biological child, a court may argue that he has acquired parental responsibility over your son.
This means that he may be bound to financially support him.
However, this is hard to enforce especially if the biological father of your son is alive and well. Parental responsibility to a child lies with the biological parents, therefore in the eyes of the law; your son’s father would be the first consideration.
My husband and I recently divorced. I got custody of our children and I want to change their names as they appear on their birth certificates. How do I go about this?
According to the Births and Registrations Act, a parent or guardian is only allowed to change the name of a child within two years following registration of his or her birth.
As it stands now, the only option you have is to wait until they are adults. If they want to change their names, they’ll swear a deed poll that will enable them to make the change. A deed poll is a recognised legal document that effects a change of names.
I’m the first born in a family of eight children. Our last born, who should be in her final year in secondary school, eloped with her boyfriend, who is above 18. My sister claims she is going to get married to him. What do we do to prevent her from making this mistake?
If your sister is under 18, then by law, she’s considered a child. Rather than use threats, it would be wise to reach out to her in a caring manner to avoid antagonising her.
She and her boyfriend need to know the legal liability they are putting themselves in. She’s a minor; therefore their marriage would be unlawful.
Her boyfriend also needs to be aware that he would be committing a crime should he marry or have a sexual relationship with her. Should dialogue fail, you can apply to the Children’s Court for an order to have your sister returned in your care; or even pursue criminal prosecution against the man.
My husband and I swore an affidavit of marriage; it is the only legal document we have to prove that we are married. Can I rely on this as evidence of our marriage?
There is no such thing in law as marriage by affidavit. It may assist in having people treat you as a married couple, say if you married under customary law, where there are no certificates. To be on the safe side, contract a valid marriage under the recognised forms stipulated by law.
Send your questions to our experts on children’s rights and family law to firstname.lastname@example.org