NEW MARRIAGES ACT- FAQs

Q: WHEN DID THE MARRIAGES ACT [CHAPTER 5:17] COME INTO EFFECT ?

A: The Marriages Act [Chapter 5:17] came into effect on the 16th of September 2022 through the proclamation in SI 164/2022.

Q: IS A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP A MARRIAGE?

A: No. It is a relationship between a man and a woman that are above the age of 18 and have satisfied the requirements laid out in terms of Section 41 of the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:17] .

Q: CAN A HUSBAND OR WIFE IN A CIVIL MARRIAGE PARTAKE IN A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP?

A: Yes – Spouses that are married in terms of the laws of the country can engage in a civil partnership.

Q: CAN A MARRIED PERSON THAT HAS A CIVIL PARTNER BE ARRESTED FOR BIGAMY?

A: No. A party to a civil marriage can engage in a civil partnership and they are not guilty of committing the crime of bigamy, as a civil partnership is not a marriage hence no crime has been committed. Section 41(6) of the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:17];

(6) It is here provided that, by virtue of the partners dissolving their civil partnership, neither of them shall be deemed to be guilty of bigamy contrary to section 104 of the Criminal Law Code if either of them is legally married to someone else.

Q: CAN MY SPOUSE’S CIVIL PARTNER CLAIM THE PROPERTY THAT I OWN IF I AM LEGALLY MARRIED?

A:  The only property shared is that which was acquired by the civil parties during the subsistence of the relationship. Matrimonial property owned by one’s spouse shall not be shared by a civil partner. The Court, when making its order with regard to property sharing upon dissolution of the civil partnership, takes into account the rights and interests of the spouse of the civil partner. Section 41(5) of the Marriages Act states that

(5) Where one of the persons in a civil partnership is legally married to someone else (hereinafter called the “spouse of the civil partner”), a court applying sections 7 to 11 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [Chapter 5:13] to the division, apportionment or distribution of the assets of the civil partnership shall pay due regard to the rights and interests of the spouse of the civil partner and ensure that its order shall not extend to any assets which are proved, to the satisfaction of the court, to be assets properly belonging to the spouse of the civil partner.

 

This is for general information only – please contact a Lawyer for your questions.

 

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