Getting Permission to Marry if You are Underage

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Boys under 18 and girls under 15 cannot get married without special permission and anyone under the age of 21 has to get their parents' permission before they can get married.
 

A marriage contracted without the required consent is voidable. This means that it can be declared null and void by the High Court.

The parents or guardian can apply to the High Court for a declaration voiding the marriage. This application needs to be made:

  • Before the minor turns 21.
  • Within six weeks of finding out about the marriage.

The minor may apply to the court to void the marriage at any time before they turn 21, or within three months after turning 21.

Parental Permission for Minors (Anyone Under 18)

Where both parents are alive and neither of the parents has sole guardianship of the minor, both parents must consent to the marriage, in writing, on form DHA-32.

If the minor is a child born out of wedlock, only the mother's written consent on form DHA-32 is required.

If one parent has been granted sole guardianship of the minor, only that parent's written consent is required on form DHA-32.

If the minor is in the care of a legal guardian, only the guardian's written consent (DHA-32) is necessary.

If a parent whose consent is legally required cannot be found to grant consent, or is legally incompetent to do so, you can apply to a commissioner of child welfare for consent to the marriage.

Should the minor's parents, and/or a commissioner of child welfare refuse to grant consent, the minor may apply to a Judge of the High Court for consent. The Judge will not grant consent unless there is sufficient evidence that the marriage is in the interest of the child and that consent has been unreasonably refused.

Special Permission for Boys Under 18 and Girls Under 15

Boys under 18 and girls under 15 must get the written consent of their parents to marry, in the same way as other minors. They also have to get the consent of the Minister of Home Affairs.

You can also apply to the Minister to condone a marriage that has already taken place without the required consent.

Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 22 December 2014