Under family law, or any other law in South Africa, it should be noted that the ideology that long term relationships automatically assume marital status is a myth. There is no such thing as common law marriages in South Africa. Similarly, the “six month” rule also holds no truth. However, for those couples who do not wish to get married, there are cohabitation agreements to protect themselves in the event of a break up. However, for those who do not marry and do not enter into a cohabitation agreement do not gain any of the relationship benefits as set out in marriage or cohabitation agreements. Should a partner die and an official will was not drawn up, nor marriage or an official cohabitation agreement, you will not be able to rely on the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses, nor will you have a right to inherit. Consult a family lawyer to assist with wills, ante nuptial contracts in the event of marriage or cohabitations agreements where marriage is not considered or legally optional.