There is no denying that technology has irrevocably changed the way we date and get to know romantic partners. A potential significant other is often a swipe away, and a fun date can materialise after a flirty text message exchange. Leading the way in this digital dating age is the millennial generation (those born in the 1980s to early 2000s). This digitally-savvy group has, as Tara Parker-Pope writes in an editorial for The New York Times, “ rewritten the rules for courtship, sex and marriage”. Of course, with all this change comes various dangers, so it’s even more important to have a legal expert in your corner who can help you navigate the legal ins and outs of dating and relationships.
Love and life through a different lens
So, yes, dating apps and sites have streamlined the process of meeting a potential romantic partner; however, as mentioned, online dating does come with its fair share of pitfalls. But with the right advice, knowledge and guidance (more on these in our various features below), you can certainly make the most of virtual romances, and who knows – your soulmate might be a click or a swipe away.
So, to help you brush up on the law and remind you what your legal rights are, LAW FOR ALL decided to use the “month of love” to unpack the legalities of dating and relationships for current and new generations.
This month, LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at:
1. The Dangers of ‘Sexting’ in South Africa
In 2019, it was estimated that over 5 billion in the world have smartphones, and this means it’s very easy for people to share information with the world and other users. And when it comes to dating apps and other online platforms, a common practice is “sexting”– the sharing on sexually explicit images. But, believe it or not, South Africa is the top “sexting” nation in the world! Naturally, this kind of exchange comes with many risks, including potential leaks, coercion and “revenge porn”. We take a closer look at the dangers of sexting and what legal options are available if someone shares intimate images of someone else without permission.
2. Online Dating in South Africa
Dating apps and sites are pretty much ubiquitous nowadays, and potential romantic partners are simply a swipe away. While the convenience of these platforms is undoubtedly a pro for many, there is also a threat of being scammed, “catfished” and falling victim to a data breach. LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look at online dating, from what to look out for in potential scams to what kind of legal action you can take if someone steals your identity or threatens to leak your information.
3. Getting Engaged in South Africa
In many cases, a match with someone on a dating app or site can lead to a stable relationship and, eventually, a marriage. But in the middle of that journey, of course, is getting engaged. From finding the right ring to planning a special time to propose, an engagement can certainly be a highlight for couples. However, there is a chance of things not quite working out post-proposal, and many people might be unaware of the fact that an engagement is considered a legal contract. And that can raise questions around who keeps the rings and what happens to any gifts exchanged during the engagement. LAW FOR ALL takes a closer look to help set your mind at ease.
4. Signs You are in a Lasting Relationship
So, let’s say the engagement and marriage all go well; many will argue that the real work starts: committing yourself to a lasting relationship. It’s important to mention that marriage isn’t the only form of commitment; as mentioned earlier, more and more millennials are opting not to get married, and prefer non-traditional relationships. But whether it’s a co-habitation agreement or polyamorous relationship, it’s always best to have contracts in place to protect all parties. Let’s unpack this a little more.
Foster a lasting relationship with LAW FOR ALL
As a caring legal services provider, we mean it when we say we are in your corner. And as the world around you changes, you can rely on LAW FOR ALL to be a constant source of advice, guidance and legal protection. In addition to covering your legal spouse and offering advice on marital regimes, our Platinum and Platinum Plus policies offer FREE ante-nuptial contracts.
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