A concubibinat agreement is a binding contract concluded between two parties who cohabit or intend to live together, forming different aspects of their relationship and which, if properly formulated, offers both parties essential protection in the context of the concubinate relationship. Here are five things you should know about cohabitation if you plan to cohabit, or if you are already in a cohabiting relationship and want to understand your rights. “There may be children from the union. There could be a common debt. There may be insurance policies with both partners as beneficiaries or a common vehicle. A concubine agreement can help ease conflicts when it comes to deciding how to resolve these issues. The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on this issue in 2012 in Butters vs. Mncora (2012) (4) SA 1 (SCA). In that case, the Court found that there was no formal agreement and that a tacit agreement could be concluded by the conduct of the parties. The Court also found that it was not necessary for the partnership to consist of a commercial enterprise. However, in practice, it is very difficult to prove the existence of a tacit universal partnership in the absence of an agreement. The parties of the concublage can therefore save themselves immense headaches by reducing their agreement to the letter and signature. I will dwell on it in detail below. Such an agreement may even contain an explicit provision regarding the payment of maintenance in the event of termination.

If one partner refuses to follow the agreement, the other partner can go to court for help, and in most cases, the court will enforce the agreement. One of the mistakes associated with the existence of relationships is that if you have lived with a person for a certain period of time, that relationship becomes a “common law marriage.” Although many people refer to a life union as a common law marriage, there is no underlying legal concept describing a common law marriage or the implications associated with it. At a time when most marriages fail, parties with a record of previous relationships and marriages prefer to live together rather than get married. . . .

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