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Universal Partnership – Did you know that there are no marriages in South Africa under the common law? In fact, there are no laws that automatically regulate or protect a couple who live together without a formal and binding agreement, regardless of the time they live together. This is a legally binding document written by a lawyer that states that you and your partner live together. This agreement then allows you many identical rights and obligations of a married couple. (a) each partner must contribute something to the partnership, whether it is money, work or qualification; (b) the partnership should be pursued in the common interest of the parties; (c) the objective should be to make a profit; (d) the contract should be legal. That is why a universal partnership agreement is so important. It is your right as an individual and as a couple to choose whether you want to marry legally or not. However, to protect both of you, it is always a good idea to have some kind of legal arrangement. The heritage of a universal partnership is that of the assets that were introduced at the beginning of the partnership and those acquired during the partnership`s existence. A partner must not alienate or use partnership assets without the prior consent of the other partner and must not completely exclude a partner from control of the ownership of the company or assets. In the event of a breakdown in the relationship, partners cannot participate in the retirement assets of their partners, not even those who are able to prove the existence of a universal partnership. The reason is that the pension fund law refers to “divorce” and that a universal partnership is not a marriage and therefore cannot be terminated by divorce. Any agreement between individuals, friends or families to create a business for profit creates a partnership. In the absence of a formal registration procedure, a written partnership agreement clearly shows the intention to create a partnership.

It also sets out in writing the cores and screws of the partnership. Sometimes relationships end suddenly and there was no time to think about the financial implications. In South Africa, however, there have been several cases where a judge has ruled that partnership is synonymous with marriage or civil union.