February 4, 2020

The least romantic, most important part of wedding planning

In and among the dress fittings, cake tastings and seating charts, the excitement of planning a wedding is a whirl, and the soon-to-be newlyweds often forget that when they say “I do”, they are entering into the most important contract of their lives.

It might take a bit of romance out of getting ready for the big day, but discussing the two options for the marriage contract: In community of property, or out of community of property. 

If a couple does not sign an antenuptial contract, their marriage is automatically in community of property. This means that all assets and all debts that either party have before the marriage come together to form a new joint estate. Because the couple now shares debt, if one partner is declared insolvent, the other is by default declared insolvent, too. The joint administration of an estate can also get complicated, as whenever you apply for a bank account, a loan, or want to authorise a debit order, you need your spouse’s written consent. 

Signing an antenuptial contract before the marriage avoids this, as it results in the couple entering into a marriage out of community of property. This means that both parties can protect their assets, even if they pool resources. If one partner loses their job, the other can apply for a loan or a bond to get them through. Antenuptial contracts also protect the interests of children from previous marriages, and, in the unfortunate case of divorce, may help to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles. 

To decide which is best for you and your partner, and to draw up an antenuptial contract if you so wish, contact our office on 011 347 0300 or info@lawmen.co.za to make an appointment with one of our labour law specialists. 

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