You are getting married! This is such an exciting time in anyone’s life, and with your whole future to look forward to it’s hard to think that anything could ever go wrong.
Discussing marriage contracts can be incredibly stressful, but if you are clear and upfront about things before you get married it makes things less complicated down the line. After all, clear communication is so important to any relationship.
No one likes to think that their marriage will not work out, but a marriage contract can help to prevent legal battles and protect assets should it ever happen.
There are two different ways to get married:
Community of property
Community of property is where everything that you and your future spouse owned before or during your marriage is combined into a joint estate. If you don’t sign a contract before you get married then a marriage in community of property happens automatically.
The pros of getting married in community of property is that you will manage your assets together instead of individually and should you get divorced, you will share your assets.
The cons of getting married in community of property are that all debt you had before and during marriage becomes part of your joint estate, which basically means you are responsible for your partners debt. Community of property also means that if you want to enter into any credit agreement you will need written permission from your significant other.
Out of community of property (Antenuptial Contract)
The two most common options, marriage with or without the accrual system.
- Marriage out of community of property with accrual: This means that you value your assets and at the end of the marriage (divorce or death). The two estates are revalued and the profit made during the marriage is shared.
- Marriage out of community of property without accrual you are treated as two separate legal entities. There is no share of profit or loss in death or divorce.
The best thing to do when getting married is to book an appointment with Executor Law / J. Bredenkamp Inc who will help you to select the marriage contract which suits you and your partner best.