couples can walk away from their marriage by ending it through a divorce. The
law acknowledges different types of marriage in South Africa, and the divorce
process and consequences depend on how a couple got married:
marriages, civil unions and customary marriages can only be dissolved by a South
26 of Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992:
A woman may assume her husband's surname, or
revert to her maiden surname or a prior surname she legally bore, and since
1997 a woman may also join her surname with that of her husband's as a
application to the Department of Home Affairs is necessary in these instances,
but to enable the Department to update the Population Register, women should
notify the Department of such changes in writing.
from the aforesaid exclusions, no major may assume another surname unless such
change of surname has been approved by the Director-General of Home Affairs and
has been published in the Government Gazette.
Applications in this regard
may be lodged at any domestic Home Affairs office or any South African
embassy, mission or consulate abroad.
must be on a duly completed Form BI-196 and a good and sufficient
reason, in writing, for the change must be furnished.
a woman (ex-wife) can change her own surname back to her maiden name or her new
husband’s name she may keep her ex-husband’s surname if she wishes.
a man (ex-husband) can’t force his ex-wife to change her surname back to her
maiden name. He can however ask and try and convince her to do so, but there is
no legal obligation for an ex-wife to change her surname.
Marriage Act, 1961 (Act No 25 of 1961); • Regulations
made under the Marriage Act,1961;
Recognition of Customary Marriages Act,1998 (Act No
120 of 1998);
Civil Union Act, 2006 (Act No 17 of 2006); and
Regulations made under the Civil Union Act,2006
Divorce Act 70 of 1979
26 of Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992